*FM speaks at US think-tank, says country’s citizens are a forgiving and resilient people It is Qatar’s hope that the GCC can be rebuilt, HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani has said.
Speaking at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, DC on Thursday, HE Sheikh Mohamed also said the country’s citizens are a forgiving and resilient people. He also hoped that the international community would call for an immediate regional strategic dialogue to agree upon common principles of security, which could serve as a foundation for healing and ultimately lead to prosperity for the region. During a discussion on ‘Changing Dynamics of the Gulf’, Sheikh Mohamed stressed that Qatar appreciated the US partnership in the region and its efforts to recalibrate powerful regimes into using leadership wisely, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) tweeted. The AEI is a US-based think-tank. “The world is discovering that the blockading states will stop at nothing: illegal market manipulation, military aggression, humanitarian assaults, silencing of dissenters, weaponising propaganda and undermining the global fight against terrorism,” he was quoted as saying by the MoFA. There is a silver lining to the blockade, though, he observed. “Qatar has been able to show the resilience to survive under siege. Other countries in the Middle East might not be able to withstand the trials of an attack, as we have seen in example after example across the region.” While noting that “Qatar and the US base are strategically located”, the minister said: “We are surrounded by powerful players in the Middle East. Some of these nations are bent on intimidation, aggression and dangerous flirtations with war. “Qatar joins the US passion for restoring regional security to the Middle East. The regional and short-term danger of aggression is happening before our eyes, along a spectrum of devastation." Terrorism flourishes in “oppressive, closed regimes, where the needs and rights of the citizens are not met”, he further observed. Ending the turmoil in the Middle East would take further leadership, Sheikh Mohamed said, stressing that the co-operation of all countries in the Middle East was necessary to restoring lasting security to the region. He also pointed out that Qatar and the US have been fighting terrorism together for many years. Terrorism needs to be destroyed not only through military and economic warfare, but also by “lifting up the oppressed with a vision of openness and hope through lasting social transformations.” “We need to work together to completely end terrorism financing, recruitment, propaganda, and extremist ideologies.” Sheikh Mohamed noted that wise leadership means putting aside personal feelings to help the good of the people. “It is Qatar’s hope that the GCC can be rebuilt. The citizens of Qatar are a forgiving and resilient people.” The restored GCC need to have a clear process for raising and resolving differences, he said. “It would need to be void of forced compliance regarding foreign policy and decisions concerning domestic affairs and would need to be governed by reason over impulse. I hope the international community will join me in calling for an immediate regional strategic dialogue to agree upon common principles of security – which can serve as a foundation for healing and ultimately prosperity for the region.” Meanwhile, according to an Al Jazeera report, HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister said Qatar was willing to participate in any US-GCC summit, provided the blockading countries' motivation was based on real will and not coercion. Speaking at the AEI, Sheikh Mohamed said any solution to the dispute between the GCC countries must be premised on the principle of equality between the nations of the region, the report noted. Washington, DC hosted the first US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue earlier this week.