Qatar is a strategic ally and UK supports mediation efforts to solve Gulf Crisis: UK Defense Secretary

 17 Sep 2017 - 13:48

Qatar is a strategic ally and UK supports mediation efforts to solve Gulf Crisis: UK Defense Secretary
(file Photo) UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon. Reuters


Doha: UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said that Qatar was and still is a strategic ally of the United Kingdom in the region.

Fallon praised Doha’s support provided for the international campaign against terrorism and against ISIS organization, pointing out that, three years after the start of the campaign, achievements could not have been possible without the Qatari support.

In an interview with Arabic newspaper Al-Sharq, Fallon said that UK supports all mediation efforts to resolve the current Gulf crisis, led by Kuwaiti efforts, warning of the negative impact of prolonging the crisis on the entire Middle East region, adding that the crisis should not be allowed to continue in the light of great challenges facing the entire region.

The Defense Secretary said that the cooperation between the UK and Qatar is not limited to defense and commercial cooperation, but extends to many other aspects, stressing that his country provides all support to Qatar in its preparations to host the World Cup 2022 and wants it to be a success story.

Qatar is always a strong ally of Britain in the region and “our relationship is not just defensive or commercial,” he added.

On the defense side, Fallon said “we are now implementing the defense and security cooperation agreement that was renewed last year and our forces are working closely with each other,” describing the current relations between Qatar and the United Kingdom as excellent relations and they will move forward in strengthening them.

As for the existence of more joint military exercises between the two sides, Fallon said that the agreement on security and military cooperation signed between the two countries and which was renewed with last year includes training operations, pointing out that last month “our forces completed their last military exercises with Ahmed bin Mohammed Military College, which was the third joint training between the two countries’ forces in one month.”

Regarding Britain’s position on the current Gulf crisis, Fallon affirmed that Britain is not biased in favor of a specific party, but encourages mediation between the parties, expressing at same time his country’s support for the mediation efforts undertaken by the State of Kuwait.

During his visit to Kuwait three weeks ago, Fallon said that he encouraged the Kuwaitis to continue mediation efforts, stressing the importance to find a solution to this conflict.

The British Defense Secretary pointed out that the whole thing is Gulf-Gulf and that they are not interfering in a “Gulf conflict,” but encourage mediation efforts. Fallon stressed the need to fight against terrorism in a better and stronger way, noting the need to improve the way in fighting against this phenomenon.

Regarding the stability of the Middle East and whether the current Gulf crisis leads to the destabilization, Fallon stressed that all parties must work hard to find the solution, adding that the unity of the Gulf States is an important pillar of stability in the entire region.

He also said that there are many challenges currently facing the region including the war in Syria, the campaign against the (ISIS) organization and the conflict in Yemen in addition to further challenges in the region.

Fallon affirmed that this “conflict” must not be continued in the Gulf and a solution must be found now.