Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs: Qatar, France Have Deep, Historical Relations, Continue to Consult on Afghanistan

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Doha / Information Office / September 13

HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani described the Qatari-French relations as deep and historic, stressing that the meetings between the two sides are always characterized by a positive atmosphere, which reflects the depth of these relations and bilateral cooperation in various fields.

In a press conference on Monday with HE Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic Jean-Yves Le Drian, HE the Foreign Minister said that the two sides discussed during their meeting today the bilateral relations and ways to strengthen and deepen them, in addition to discussing future opportunities to strengthen and consolidate this cooperation and deepen the relationship further. He added that they also reviewed international issues of common interest, noting that the Afghan file took the largest part of the discussion.

HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that the Qatari and French sides stressed the need to continue consultation regarding the Afghan issue, especially concerning the recent security and political developments in Afghanistan. HE the Foreign Minister reviewed in this regard the results of his recent visit to Afghanistan and his meetings with officials of the transitional government and Afghan leaders, pointing out that the meetings focused on the importance of advancing national reconciliation, ensuring freedom of passage and travel for all, and providing guarantees for the rights and safety of the Afghan people. He added that they also discussed Kabul International Airport and developments in work there, emphasizing the importance of strengthening efforts with all parties to combat the threat of terrorism.

His Excellency referred to his meeting in Kabul with former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Chairman of the Afghan National Reconciliation Committee Abdullah Abdullah, where he valued their efforts in the negotiations hosted by Doha during the last period and assured them of Qatar's support for all efforts that would achieve Afghan national reconciliation as the core for the future stability of Afghanistan.

HE the Foreign Minister indicated that he discussed with his French counterpart ways to continue international consultation and cooperation on Afghanistan, particularly about providing humanitarian aid and trying to create an international consensus on establishing mechanisms to provide aid and deliver it to those who deserve it, stressing that the State of Qatar's continued provision of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. He referred to the flights undertaken by the State of Qatar to Afghanistan, which carried humanitarian aid, in addition to two flights that carried passengers of different nationalities, stressing the continuation of the State of Qatar in these efforts and cooperation with all countries and United Nations agencies in this regard.

On the rights of women in Afghanistan and the concerns related to this matter, and the position of the State of Qatar on this issue, HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani stressed the State of Qatar's support for the rights of all Afghan people, stressing the need to preserve those rights and not accepting any violation of anyone, especially the Afghan woman. He pointed out that the State of Qatar has contributed, during the last stage, and since the Taliban entered Kabul, to the safe transfer of many Afghan women at risk out of Afghanistan.

HE the Foreign Minister urged the Taliban to preserve the gains of the Afghan people and the importance of respecting women's rights and their role in development in Afghanistan, calling on them to take examples of many Islamic countries, including Qatar, in which women exercise their rights fully and constructively, where women represent the largest segment of the workforce in the government, and the rate of womens enrollment in higher education exceeds that of men. He called for continuing exhortation and unifying the means as members of the international community, especially Islamic countries so that there is no violation of women.

On the recognition of the government of Afghanistan, HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs explained that his recent discussions with the government there focused on encouraging them to engage with the international community, noting that the role of the State of Qatar as a mediator has always been neutral. He added, "We told them that isolation was not the answer, and that recognition is not a priority, but engagement with the international community is the way forward for all of us, and we are convinced that insisting on the issue of recognition at the present time will not help any party. We believe that the catalyst and constructive factor is to turn the positive commitments and statements into actions because the international community is currently looking for actions and is waiting for positive steps forward, and their answer was that they want to open up to the international community and engage with it and the return of embassies, but this requires a lot of work on their part, and we always urge them to be willing to engage to meet the aspirations of the international community." 

 HE Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic Jean-Yves Le Drian praised the constructive and exceptional role of the State of Qatar in the Afghan crisis, praising its support in evacuating French and Afghan nationals from Kabul.

He explained that his visit to Doha comes to consult on the Afghan crisis and strengthening the very rich partnerships between Qatar and France on several issues, adding that there are strong, solid and old relations between France and Qatar, as the State of Qatar is a friend and strong partner with whom France has a close dialogue.

HE the French Foreign Minister pointed out that his discussion, with HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, was constructive, friendly and frank regarding the bilateral partnership and regional files. He stressed that the two countries are keen to enhance security and stability in the region.

HE Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic added that his visit to Doha translates the common will to deepen bilateral cooperation in several areas such as security, economy, culture and sports. He added that the solid relations between Qatar and France allow for close coordination between the two countries on the Afghan crisis.

He announced that it was agreed to hold a strategic dialogue between Qatar and France before the end of 2021 to evaluate the partnership between the two countries and discuss ways and means to enhance it in all fields.

In response to a question regarding the position on the Afghan situation, HE the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs said that there are demands by the international community from the Taliban authorities, including freedom of movement and unimpeded travel, respect for basic human rights, women's and girls' rights, a severance with all forms of terrorism, and the delivery of humanitarian assistance to every region in Afghanistan under the supervision of the UN organizations, and the formation of a transitional government with an executive capacity.

These demands were confirmed by the Security Council resolution issued in late August, and within the framework of various meetings, including the meeting of European Union foreign ministers, which was held at the end of last week, he added.

He explained that the authorities in Kabul are not responding to the demands of the international community. He pointed out that the international community was waiting for an expanded government, but this did not happen and is looking for actions, not words, stressing the need to continue to pressure at all levels so that the authorities in Kabul meet the aspirations set by the Taliban themselves.

HE the French Foreign Minister indicated that the Afghan issue will be present in the meetings of the United Nations General Assembly, which will be held next week.

HE Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic referred to his country's efforts and success during the past weeks in evacuating a large number of French nationals and some Afghans at risk from Afghanistan with the support of the State of Qatar, stressing his country's keenness to continue this cooperation to complete the evacuation of the remaining French and their families from Kabul as well as vulnerable Afghans.