His Excellency, the Foreign Minister: Of course, first of all, I would like to welcome my colleague His Excellency the American Secretary of State, Mr. Tillerson, for visiting Doha. There had been meetings between His Excellency and His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, and there had already been bilateral meetings that occurred between His Excellency and me. Of course, during the meeting between His Excellency and the Emir, His Highness the Emir expressed his thanks to US President Donald Trump for his continued diligence and his concern for what is happening in the Gulf crisis and its developments, and he thanked him for continuing to follow up with these efforts during the American Secretary of State’s visit to the region. His Highness shares with the US President Donald Trump the opinion that this crisis has gone on for too long, and that it is affecting our efforts to combat common challenges, and we have assured him of the State of Qatar’s commitment with the option of dialogue based on clear foundations and sound foundations that don’t infringe upon the sovereignty of states, and don’t go against international law. He also praised the efforts of His Highness the Emir of Kuwait, to heal this rift from which we all lose. We have also stressed the importance that this solution has the voice of wisdom over irresponsible language coming from the blockading states during this time. We talked about the importance of bilateral relations between the State of Qatar and the United States, and the strong relations that are based on strategic foundations, and in various fields like defense, economy, and education. He also thanked the United States with all its political institutions for deepening this relationship, and for its support of the developmental role played by the State of Qatar, and for their participation in the wheel of development. We also discussed regional matters of the region, like the Syrian matter, Iraq, Libya, and the Palestinian matter.
We stressed our support for all efforts that aid in healing all rifts among the Palestinian powers to reach the ground for effective peace talks in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative. There were many discussions on various topics, and stressing the importance of the role played by the United States in combatting terrorism, and safekeeping the region’s security in partnership with all the region’s nations, which unfortunately began to go through turmoil due to this fabricated crisis by the blockading nations.
Thank you Your Excellency for visiting Doha, and please go ahead.
American Secretary of State: Thank you Your Excellency. I’m pleased to be in Doha, and it’s a place that I’ve visited and known for many years. I would like to thank His Highness the Emir for the generous time he has given me, and for the talks that occurred between us concerning many issues. We also held a bilateral meeting with the Foreign Minister, and we discussed our efforts in combatting terrorism in the region, and the neighboring crisis in the Gulf, and various issues the Foreign Minister outlined to you, which we discussed. We also discussed the progress of a memorandum of understanding concerning combatting terrorism, which we signed last July. Significant progress has been made, and there have been clear efforts in our collective efforts to combat terrorism including sharing Information about terrorists and the financing of terrorism, and we held several technical training sessions, and we took measures regarding securing the air. We also strengthened relations between the two nations regarding the fight against terrorism. The United States will continue to work closely with Qatar to fight terrorism. As you know, President Trump made combatting the financing of terrorists among his priorities at the meeting and summit that occurred in Riyadh. There is much that we can do regarding this matter. Finally, as the conflict in the Gulf enters the end of the fifth month, the United States remains concerned today as it was at the beginning of this crisis. Furthermore, the United States has felt the consequences of this conflict, and we believe it is urgent that the nations of the GCC continue to seek unity, as none of us benefit from the continuation of this crisis. Therefore, we encourage all sides to continue with dialogue and negotiations to resolve their differences. We hope that everyone will reduce the rhetoric by expressing restraint, as it does not help in this position.
The United States will continue to do its part by supporting the efforts of His Highness the Emir of Kuwait to reach a diplomatic solution, and we will also continue with dialogue with all parties in order to help to understand the sources of their concerns and to find a solution. In conclusion, I would like to thank the State of Qatar for donating $30 million to ease the effects, and we also value the relationship between the United States and Qatar. There are business interests, and Qatar is carrying out huge and important investments in the United States. We also look forward to deepening relations between the two nations in the long-term. Thank you, Your Excellency.
Question : Haitham Mohammed Saleh, Al-Jazeera. Sir, the American Secretary of State, your call to the Riyadh dialogue to adopt a path to dialogue, what are the details of this course, and what are the practical steps to resolve the crisis of the siege of Qatar as we near the fifth month. In addition to expressing hope, people are waiting for a bigger role to be played by Washington. How can Washington impose a solution based on what they said in Riyadh and other places, as Washington is an ally to all. Qatari Foreign Minister, good afternoon Your Excellency. Has there been new calls regarding the Gulf Summit. And what did the Kuwaiti envoy, who visited Qatar a few days ago, inform you? Thank you.
American Secretary of State: First of all, let make it clear that the United States has no intention to impose on any party in this conflict, we are still in communication with all parties, and President Trump himself has spoken with the concerned parties and stressed to all that the time has come to find a solution to this crisis. The United States is ready to facilitate dialogue through dialogue itself or to put out a roadmap. However, it is important that the parties reach a point of understanding where they may be ready. We have expressed our view that the time has come, and We continue to clarify these points, and we continue to provide any help, whether in the presentation of dialogue, or facilitating dialogue, and supporting long-term efforts as I have told the Emir of Kuwait, but the matter does not go to the United States to impose any solution on any party.
His Excellency, the Foreign Minister: Regarding the Gulf Summit, we have not received an official message concerning delaying the summit, despite our hope that the summit will go on as planned in its time, and as His Excellency just pointed out a while ago, the importance of the Gulf Cooperation Council as an organization for collective security. Unfortunately, we see that it is a victim of this fabricated crisis against the State of Qatar, and which has had a direct impact on the collective security of the GCC states due to the irresponsible behavior of the blockading states. We see, from the point of view of the State of Qatar, that carrying out any GCC meeting will form a golden opportunity, at least to engage in dialogue in a civil manner, in accordance with civilized Diplomatic channels. However, if there is any delay, it will be because of the intransigence of these countries. Unfortunately, they are unable to step up regarding this to at least begin discussions to resolve the reasons for this intractable crisis. We see that they always resort to non-diplomatic methods, and which modern international relations don’t have in any sense, like using tribalism and religious differences, and other irresponsible behavior. The State of Qatar is still committed to the GCC as an organization, and we stress the importance of this organization for the collective security of the region, and we hope that the blockading countries will partner with us in this system to assume their responsibilities in engaging in a positive and serious manner, in order to find a solution to this crisis, one which we don’t see any clear reasons for, not for us, or for any of our allies even now.
Michelle Kilman, AFP. Hello. First of all, I have a question about Kirkuk. What is the extent of your worry about Iran helping Iraq by restoring parts of Kirkuk? And what will happen regarding that with the Kurds, and those who may feel like they’ve been abandoned? What will you do about the referendum, and how will you deal with the situation there?
American Secretary of State: Regarding the Iranian presence in Iraq, Prime Minister Al-Abadi is taking full responsibility of Iraq and the movement of military operations. As for us, we have encouraged restraint, and reducing any conflict between the powers involved, either on Kurdish forces, and forces that maybe a part of the Iraqi government coalition. At the time of the referendum, we didn’t encourage the referendum. We didn’t think it was the right time. In light of the war against Daesh, which is still ongoing, and despite the victories and progress in Iraq, this effort hasn’t taken place yet. We are also worried that this referendum will lead to neutralization in the efforts against combatting Daesh. I am concerned now with what we are seeing in these efforts to move forces to past points. In addition, we hope that the parties will find themselves in a position to exercise restraint. It is our view that there are many movements among forces, whether it be the Kashmiri forces, or the forces of the Iraqi coalition during the war in the fight against Daesh, and it was coordinated in a big and clear picture, under the leadership of Prime Minister Al-Abadi, and working alongside the coalition forces in order to roll-back Daesh. I think there is a general understanding that when the war against Daesh is over, and all territories have been liberated and secured, everyone will go to the positions they were in before the emergence of Daesh in 2014. Therefore, a lot of the developments you are witnessing are restoring the locations of the Kashmiri forces to past positions.
There is also a restoration of power to Iraqi forces to past positons which formed the borders between an independent Kurdistan and other states in Iraq. Therefore, we encourage all parties to commit to past borders, and we also ask the parties to engage in dialogue in order to respect the Iraqi constitution. The Kurds and Kurdish people have expectations that have not been met under the constitution. Furthermore, there are a number of measures that the parties must act upon to meet the requirements of the Iraqi constitution, and Al-Abadi has made it clear that he is ready to fulfill all of his duties under the parties. We also want the Kurds to engage in dialogue in order for that to happen, and I think most of the sources of concern for the Kurds will be met under dialogue. Therefore, we must not forget that the fight against Daesh is not over, and that is the biggest threat to Iraq.
Jaber Nasser Al-Gufrani Al-Murri, Al-Arab newspaper. My question is for His Excellency, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman: This crisis started with the piracy attack against QNA, and then these slanders were included in the media of the blockading countries until they spoke about what had not been seen in international media found in Qatar. But I am talking about the head of diplomacy in the blockading countries, and the last being a speech by the Bahraini Foreign Minister His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed that the Qatari crisis isn’t just based on Qatar’s foreign policy, but also its miserable situation that is based on injustice, hate, and racism. What is your response, Your Excellency?
His Excellency, the Foreign Minister: Well, this crisis has definitely revealed a lot of wonders and among them those from ones who call themselves leaders in diplomacy, and unfortunately we have not seen any diplomacy or maturity in their statements. It is amusing that there are claims of a state speaking of social repression, and social repression is practiced there, and a state that talks about the effects of sedition, and they are the ones carrying out sedition. Our message to them is just that the one who has lost something does not give it, and we ask that they stop underestimating the minds of their people, and underestimating the minds of all our people, the people of the GCC, and to raise their speech a little.
Barbara Blitt, from BBC. Thank you. Mr. Tillerson, you made it clear in a strong picture in an interview shortly before this trip that the quartet led by Saudi Arabia is responsible for the continuation of the conflict with Qatar, and that they don’t want to engage in dialogue. First of all, I ask you, why didn’t you tell this to the Saudis? Second of all, are they ready to engage in direct dialogue as President Trump said when he said that he is ready to invite them to the White House? Third, do you believe the Iranians are benefitting from this crisis? To Sheikh Mohammed Al-Thani; the Minister in Riyadh talked about combatting Iranian influence, especially in Iraq. Are you worried about the expansion of Iranian influence in the region? And do you believe it is a source of threats?
American Secretary of State: Regarding the talks and their occurrence, yes, during my meeting with the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, I asked him to engage in dialogue. There is no strong indicator that the sides are ready until now, in addition, we can’t impose dialogue on people who aren’t ready for dialogue. Furthermore, there is no invite to the White House because it’s clear the parties aren’t ready for dialogue. We will continue to work towards this dialogue. But, as I said in response to a past question, we can’t and don’t aspire to impose any solution on any party. Regarding Iran, it is clear that the main and first benefactor is the atmosphere; the atmosphere is the only place Qatar is allowed to use, in order to meet the needs of Qatar. This takes away a lot of the available choices in front of Qatar to seek in order to meet the needs of its people, and this is one example of what is a source of worry for us. Also, in any place where there is conflict between countries who are normally allies, a person on the sides will take advantage of these differences.
His Excellency, the Foreign Minister: Regarding your question about combatting Iranian influence in the region, I believethat Qatar was clear before the crisis, and during the crisis, and even after the crisis. We are against any negative influence in the region, and any interference in the region and in the Arab world. We were clear about expressing the sources of concern, and also about any Iranian influence there. We have said that the crisis is undermining our efforts to resolve issues here in the region, and it also undermines our efforts in the fight against terrorism, because they claim to be leading counterterrorism efforts. We see the opposite here, and they are effecting the efforts of the fight against terrorism in the region by imposing measures against a state that until a few months ago, was a strong ally to them. As for Qatar, it has followed a clear policy regarding Iran, but we are still committed to resolving all issues here in the region through dialogue. This is not just a position for Qatar, but for all GCC states. During our last meeting in December 2016 in Bahrain, the leaders committed to engaging in dialogue with Iran in a serious manner on the basis of not interfering in the internal affairs of any side, and stopping any negative influence in the region. We are still committed to these principles, and to the use of dialogue.
Salman Al-Najjar, Al-Arabic TV. Your Excellency, the Qatari Foreign Minister, regarding the Kuwaiti initiative, all the delegations that came to the Gulf, and all Foreign Ministers who came sided with the Kuwaiti initiative, and supported the Kuwaiti initiative. The Kuwaiti Foreign Minister was here, what did he tell you? And the Emir of Kuwait was in Saudi Arabia, what did the Kuwaiti initiative reach? Are you still colliding with the wall of blockading countries, or are there initiatives to rotate the angles between the demands of the blockading countries, and the demands of the State of Qatar in not interfering with its sovereignty. Thank you.
His Excellency, the Foreign Minister: Of course, regarding our support of the Kuwaiti initiative, and the support of all friendly countries towards this initiative and standing behind it, and it is always the position of the State of Qatar, and the request of the State of Qatar, from these countries that the Kuwaiti initiative is the umbrella for any mediation to resolve this crisis. First, the position that the State of Kuwait enjoys from the GCC states; second, the importance of relying on the system of the GCC as a system of stability and collective security as I mentioned. There are efforts from the blockading nations to claim a normalization of the siege, and to normalize the current situation. However, normally such efforts to normalize such measures are against international relations. You cannot normalize humanitarian situations like tearing families apart, or the case of 26,000 people who were dispersed because of these unjust procedures, you can’t issue the word normalization while the incitement continues, and by opening fronts and the irresponsible use of money, their people’s money, spending money to open fronts in the West against the State of Qatar in order to spread lies and allegations. Their claims of normalization are not accurate, are unfounded claims. If they are looking at the matter by wanting to normalize their measures, then they should learn the correct normalization, and a transparent normalization for all measures, and to not continue with this chain of incitement and interfering in the internal affairs of the State of Qatar. The efforts of the Emir of Kuwait are appreciated, and the message of the Emir of Kuwait, and the State of Kuwait’s commitment to continue mediation despite all the difficulties and intransigence that they face from these countries.