Arab Spring ‘will lead to democracy’

February 03, 2014 - 3:08:39 am

The Foreign Minister H E Dr Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah (second left) taking part in a debate on the ‘Future of the Middle East’ on the sidelines of Munich Conference on International Peace and Security yesterday.



DOHA: Qatar sees the Arab Spring gradually leading to democracy in the Middle East and consolidating itself in the next 10 years.

The changes that began a little more than three years ago would eventually see the region’s political landscape change.

“And that should take about a decade from now to happen,” said the Foreign Minister, H E Dr Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah.

He was speaking while taking part in a debate on the “Future of the Middle East”, on the sidelines of the Munich Conference on International Peace and Security in the German city yesterday.

Others who participated in the discussion were Abdul Latif Al Zayani, Secretary-General of the GCC, Turki Al Faisal, head of King Faisal Research and Islamic Studies Center in Saudi Arabia, US Senator John McCain, and Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

In the coming 10 years, when democracy has deepened its roots in the Middle East, the region would emerge as one of the influential blocks in the world, Al Attiyah said.

The changes would eventually see democracy prevail and consolidate itself in the Middle East, he said, adding, “We are seeing the outcome of the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Yemen.”

Qatar has always been optimistic about positive changes resulting from the Arab Spring and it would come to its logical end, he said.

Answering a question about the Arab Gulf region and whether changes were taking place here as well, the foreign minister said the social fabric of Gulf societies was such that it was protecting the region from harm.

Responding to a question about Iran and its nuclear programme, Al Attiyah said Qatar wanted a peaceful solution. “Qatar is Iran’s neighbour,” he reiterated.

About accusations that Qatar supports extremists, the foreign minister said this question was posed to him at almost all the conferences he attended.

“Who is an extremist in Syria: those who are using dangerous weapons against their own people or those who are trying to defend the innocent, including pregnant women, the elderly people and children,” he asked.

Referring to an international report on genocide in Syria, Al Attiyah wondered why the world was silent on the issue.

In such a situation it is necessary to give an indication that there is a community in the world which is siding with justice and dealing with the people neutrally and in a fair manner, he said.