Gulf crisis has created new opportunities for Qatar

 20 Jul 2017 - 0:11

From the beginning of the Gulf crisis, Turkey has played a balanced, transparent and positive role based on its strategic agreements signed with Qatar. It also strongly supported Kuwait’s role as a mediator and has asked the siege countries to resolve the crisis through dialogue and negotiations.

In this regard, I think that the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the Gulf is very important and necessary and comes in line with the official Turkish position which I have mentioned earlier. The region cannot bear a new crisis especially in view of an accumulation of challenges due to the collapse of a number of regional countries and the spread of terrorism and extremism. These challenges are too big for a specific country to solve and they demand a collective effort and this is what made Turkey keen to see a resolution of the crisis.

We hope that the siege countries will make use of the international and regional efforts and support the role of Kuwait as a mediator to solve the crisis in a respectful and responsible way instead of resorting to illegal and unjustified escalation which will ultimately fail.

We have to deal with the crisis quietly and with prudence as we have a number of choices to do so but harming others is not our goal and that is why we are keen to see success of all initiatives in this regard.
Always, we appreciate Turkey’s keenness to talk to Saudi Arabia asking it to solve the dispute. On the other hand, there are some who have an interest in disrupting Turkey’s message and role as they want to escalate and prolong the crisis.

From US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s efforts to solve the crisis, I am sure he knows the dangers of the crisis if it takes a long time. He wants at first to find a ground to negotiate and find an exit for the countries which created the crisis, and this position finally helps the Kuwaiti role and all who support the resolution of the crisis through dialogue.

His departure without giving a statement after the Gulf visit was meant to give a chance to siege countries to think about his proposals because these countries are going to close the road and that will cause a big problem to the US in the region.

It is clear that American departments like the Foreign Ministry and Defence institutions are not satisfied with the crisis and this fact is without any doubt as you recently read about the CIA official leaks which indicate that the UAE was behind the hacking of Qatar News Agency and created the crisis through that conspiracy.

The siege countries depend on personal relations and individuals which will not benefit them, and finally they will retract from their demands and so it’s better to take this step now rather than later.

As Minister of Foreign Affairs H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has stressed, “we cannot accept anything contrary to our sovereignty, and cannot accept imposition of guardianship on our decisions.”

So anything that can be counted as an intervention in our internal affairs will be rejected.

The list of demands that they have released is not reasonable and the international community too thinks so. Some of the demands are just allegations and not true and the siege countries did not provide any evidence either to us or other countries in this regard.

Some of the demands are against our sovereignty and amount to interference in our internal affairs and contradict all local and international laws. The procedures that the siege countries have imposed violate all international laws, and we are sure that later they will retreat from their moves.

Qatar until now has not replied to these punitive measures which were imposed on it and that decision was taken to make the initiatives to solve the crisis fruitful and it is a grave mistake of siege countries to derive some other meaning from our restraint.

The crisis was a challenge for us, without any doubt, but it also created big opportunities which were not existing before. Among these opportunities include increasing the level of political, economic and military cooperation with a number of friendly countries.

Before the crisis we were discussing with Turkey to increase the size of trade exchange and economic investment and the crisis has accelerated this.

Qatar was the first country to condemn the coup attempt in Turkey on July 15 last year, when the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani called his brother Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

This year, the Minister of Foreign Affairs H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has expressed Qatar’s solidarity with Turkey and congratulated them on the first anniversary of the failed coup and the victory of the Turkish people.

And what is important in this regard is learning lessons from this experience. A government which serves its people and meets their dreams and ambitions doesn’t need arms to protect itself because people will stand with their government and defend it.

This article is based on an interview of Salem bin Mubarak Al Shafi with Al Arab newspaper.
The writer is Qatar’s Ambassador to Turkey.