The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani addressing the opening of the First International Conference of the Council of Arab and International Relations in Kuwait City, yesterday.
DOHA: The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani yesterday called for an overhaul of the United Nations and its Security Council, as also of the Arab League, saying it was time these key organisations were reformed to keep pace with the changing times and social and political realities.
“The United Nations was formed in 1945 when the reality of the world was different,” he said, justifying the need for reform in the world body and its Security Council. He was speaking at the First International Conference of Council for Arab and International Relations in Kuwait yesterday.
The PM underlined the need for reform in the Arab League as well so as to enable it to achieve its objectives and protect Arab interests abroad and help strengthen Arabs’ relations with the rest of the world.
The Arab League must set up “joint mechanisms” with the European Union (EU), the African Union and the South East Asian and South American blocks, suggested the PM, Qatar News Agency reported yesterday.
The Arab League should set up Arab cultural centres in the US and European capitals as a first step as many people, particularly in the US and Europe, are unaware of “our refined ancient culture and our distinguished role in many historical eras and hence they are more vulnerable to negative campaigns demeaning the Arabs and distorting their image,” he added.
About reforms in the Arab world, the PM said the internal situation of each Arab country should be reformed, and it is not necessary that a revolution or uprising erupts in a certain country so that reform could be achieved.
However, a studied and gradual reform which keeps pace with the aspirations of the people may be more effective and more beneficial than hasty reforms imposed by pressures and enthusiasm. The reform should not only focus on politics but also on economy.
The education system in the Arab world needs a complete overhaul, the Premier said.
A necessary step to reform in the Arab world lies in the reform of the Arab League in order that it achieves its objectives within the Arab world and to protect Arab interests abroad as well as to develop and strengthen Arab relations with the world and with continental associations and gatherings.
The media have become an industry, art, and science where ideas and interpretations interact, based on understanding and comprehension rather than exclusion and condemnation, the PM said, adding that the less supervision and monitoring over media, the more respect from the world towards our causes, and the more we humbly listen to the other, the more we would be listened to.
He highlighted the free word as the basis for dialogue among people. The PM also called for the establishment of a pan-Arab news agency broadcasting in the world’s major languages, to be operated by the Arab League away from official intervention. “Thus, we can guarantee objective and credible reach while mitigating the effects of Arab news broadcast by some international agencies which are subject to distortions, he said.
The unrest in some parts of Africa should not be a reason to abandon investment on the continent, he said adding that there are relatively stable countries in East and West Africa, in addition to the Republic of South Africa, which enjoys political stability and economic openness.
The PM said economy is a key factor in international relations, therefore, it is important for Arab countries, in order to maintain relations with the oil and gas importing countries, to increase their foreign investments and to build long-term strategic relations with these countries and not to limit relations to the economic aspects.
There are no guarantees that the major industrialised countries will continue to import oil and gas from the Middle East for decades to come, he added.
“We have to be ready for any developments or changes in the global energy market”, the PM cautioned.
In order for the Arab world to develop and activate its international relations, like other regions, wide reforms are needed in the United Nations and the UN Security Council, because the reality of the world is different from 1945 when the UN was set up, said the PM.