HE Minister of Foreign Affairs: With regards to the 13 demands, they violated international law, and also violated the sovereignty of the State of Qatar. Out of respect for the mediation of His Highness Sheikh Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait, we responded in a rational and logical way. The reply was sent to the four blockading countries, and their response was to proceed with 6 principles, and the State of Qatar responded by stating it was ready to initiate dialogue as long as it was concluded on the collective obligations of all countries. However, we were surprised with the backtracking and the insistence on the 13 demands, and that the 13 demands would be null after ten days if not implemented. For us, the matter of the 13 demands is a matter of searching, we are ready for anything as long as it does not touch sovereignty and doesn’t violate international law, and as long as it is in accordance with general principles for a transparent dialogue between us and those countries, in order to understand the concerns and reasons that pushed them to take these measures, and which until now, nothing has been made clear to us. This is especially after His Highness the Emir of Kuwait said during a press conference in the United States that we were all in a meeting a day before these measures were carried out, and there was nothing wrong, and nothing had been effected. So first, we have to understand the problem, and understand the root of the problem in an accurate way, and to prove this problem in an accurate way. From our side, presenting our problems to these countries and especially after the measures from these blockading countries, and to find solutions for them so that there can be a collective understanding between all countries, so that one state doesn’t attack another.
Question: Your Excellency, you talk about Qatari foreign policy, and you also talk about attempts to interfere in your internal affairs and foreign policy. Can you please be clearer today about the Qatari foreign policy for the Syrian crisis?
HE Minister of Foreign Affairs: The Qatari foreign policy for the Syrian crisis is firm since the beginning, and it continues in the same way. The State of Qatar demands that there be a political solution for the Syrian crisis, and demands that there be an end to the war crimes in Syria, and also demands that there be accountability for all war criminals in Syria, and demands that there be a political transition in accordance with Geneva 1 Declaration, and which was agreed upon by all of the international community. This position, for the State of Qatar, is a firm position, only to assess its positions on the basis of principles and did not change so this position can be changed by changing the crisis. For us, the basic principle is to achieve justice for the Syrian people, and what the Syrian people desire is to outline their destiny. It is not up to us, as the State of Qatar, or any other country, to talk about the course of the people of other countries, and we don’t want anybody to talk about our internal affairs, and for us, this is a clear principle, and this is what the State of Qatar has been doing since the beginning.
Question: What are the latest measures regarding the countries that carried out these measures against the State of Qatar, and specifically, what is the reason for your presence, in a personal way, at the Human Right Council. How were human rights specifically affected in the State of Qatar?
HE Minister of Foreign Affairs: Regarding recent developments, there have been efforts exerted by the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah, and his recent visit to the United States, and his meeting the US President, who also engaged and tried to mediate and facilitate dialogue between the State of Qatar and the blockading countries. He succeeded, and with American efforts, and building upon the request of the US President, there was a direct call between His Highness and the Saudi Crown Prince. The call was in the spirit of positivity, and we agreed that dialogue was the only way to resolve this crisis, and that this crisis has gone on for long enough and that it was enough. They agree that the countries will appoint representatives to talk about the differences. But unfortunately, we saw that after half an hour there was a withdrawal from their side by way of issuing a statement stating that what we said was a lie, but I say that all the points mentioned in our statements were based on facts, and that everything is accurate. The State of Qatar remains the same and we are ready to talk to them, and we are ready to engage and make efforts based on principles, and the first of them is stop violating international law, and to respect the sovereignty of all countries. With regards to the Human Rights Council, they have a big role in the crisis. There are roughly 26, 000 cases that have been raised at the Human Rights Council, and there are specific violations of the international human rights statement on family reunification, and freedom of education, freedom of movement, freedom of ownership, and freedom of expression. Therefore, the Human Rights Council is the best platform for these rights, and our way today is to work with the international community, and to work with the Human Rights Council to urge them to realize their responsibilities and urge the blockading countries to retreat from the steps they have taken against the State of Qatar.
Question: The Saudis suspended dialogue, and they are waiting for clarification from your side. Do you think your statement today in Geneva will be enough to restore relations with the Saudis?
HE Minister of Foreign Affairs: Unfortunately, in this crisis, nothing was expected. We could not expect and build assumptions based on ordinary facts and normal elements, because we and the international community could not have expected these measures, or that the crisis would reach these levels. As for our point of view, we were clear from the beginning, and our statement was after the phone call, it was accurate and built on facts, and we never reported anything wrong about Saudi Arabia or any other country. On the contrary, our statement was positive, and it was in the spirit of positivity from our side. As for them, when they denied and denied what we said in our statement and accused us of lying, we saw that there were no good intentions to engage in dialogue and put an end to this crisis, but we hold the others responsible for their intentions. We have to build our assumptions based on facts, and the facts that are between our hands are that we are still in the status quo, but we are still open. In my speech at the Human Rights Council, I said the State of Qatar was ready for dialogue, and if their demands are thirteen or one thousand, then the matter is not related to demands, but is related to essential demands, and the underlying causes of these principles.
The results must be collective, conclusive, and satisfactory to the parties, and has the commitment of all parties, and no one or one in a position has the right to dictate requests and demands on a sovereign state, and the State of Qatar is not in any position to impose orders on any sovereign state.
Question: With regards to the war in Yemen, did the impact of course be described on the neighboring countries or even on Syria?
HE Minister of Foreign Affairs: From our side here in the State of Qatar, our policies remain the same. Regarding the conflict in Yemen, we would like to see an end to it, and we would like to see a peaceful solution, but we are also in need of seeing a complete implementation for the UN Security Council Resolution 2216, and bringing back or restoring a legitimate government in Yemen. Our side has no relation to what is happening in Yemen, Qatar’s participation in the coalition was a part of our commitment to the security of the Gulf, but unfortunately, the blockading countries accused us of endangering the security of the Gulf States. Our soldiers were present at the Saudi border and they were protecting Saudi Arabia, and we lost some of these soldiers and others were injured while they were carrying out their duty by protecting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As for us, and in a general view from the beginning of this crisis, we wanted to see a peaceful settlement, a political settlement, based on all decisions of the international community, whether it is 2216, and even the outputs of national dialogue, which took time to reach this result. With regards to Syria, as I said in the Arabic language, we build our policies based on our own assessments. We are in need of justice for the Syrian people, and we will not impose a solution, whether from Qatar or any other country, and we will not accept another country imposing a special solution on Syria. There were steps that had been agreed upon before the international community, there is the Geneva 1 Declaration, and we are committed to it. Another matter of similar importance and that is those responsible for war crimes must be held accountable for their crimes, whether it is the Syrian regime or terrorist groups that are present there. There have been losses in Syria, more than 500,000 civilians have been killed, and more than 12 million have been forced to leave, were displaced, and internally displaced in Syria.
These people deserve an urgent solution, and the criminals don’t deserve to remain free.