Interview with H.E. Mr. Abdulla Nasser A. ALHEMAIDI
Ambassador of the State of Qatar at Bucharest
Vasile SIMILEANU: Your Excellency,
Thank you very much for being willing to conduct this interview to discuss a complicated issue, invol-ving key players in the Middle East. After the Qatari crisis, the Middle East has become a constant issue in international diplomacy. In this context, what are the strategic effects of the crisis on the State of Qatar?
Abdulla Nasser A. ALHEMAIDI: From the very beginning, the State of Qatar has acted to overcome the consequences of the blockade; and thanks to the directives of HH Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, and the hard work done by all ministries and institutions, the needs of citizens and residents alike and of various projects have been duly met. Qatar managed to successfully avoid the expected effects of the blockade and confidently plan for the future.
V.S.: On the backdrop of the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, what is wrong and what is right in relation to the crisis that exists between the State of Qatar and Arab countries? In this context, what are the Qatari strategies of confronting the negative effects and restoring the relations with the Arab countries in the region? What are the approaches to be adopted by Qatar to restore those relations?
Abdulla Nasser A. ALHEMAIDI: It is wrong to impose such an unfair blockade on a country that maintains many social, cultural and family ties with its surrounding. It is wrong to violate the provisions of the international humanitarian law in such a brutal way and deny the students who are on scholarship in the blockading countries their right to education.
In spite of that, the State of Qatar, since the very onset of the blockade, has been persistently calling for dialogue that is based on mutual respect and maintenance of sovereignty far from any dictation and within the framework of the kind mediation of HH Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jabir Al Sabah, Emir of the sisterly State of Kuwait. Regrettably, our call for dialogue received no response from the other side; and the blockading countries were adamant on their intransigence and rejection of our call and calls of the international community in this regard. They did not respect the Kuwaiti mediation, nor did they respond to the messages sent by the Emir of Kuwait to the
leaders of the blockading countries, while Qatar – in contrast- responded within a short period to those messages.
V.S.: Now, Turkey is adopting new strategies for its internal and external security, some of these strategies are related to Qatar. Does that have impact on the diplomatic and economic arena?
Abdulla Nasser A. ALHEMAIDI: The relationship between Qatar and Turkey is distinguished and two sides are working on developing it in various fields to the mutual benefit of the peoples of both countries, with a view to achieving peace and security in the region and beyond.
V.S.: In the international press, analyses were published for and against Qatar with respect to new geopolitical and geographical trends. Regardless of the incorrect information let us view Qatar impartially. How do you consider the status of the diplomatic, political and geopolitical relations with Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?
Abdulla Nasser A. ALHEMAIDI: The media campaigns leveled against Qatar were administered through public relations offices, exorbitant cost was paid for them, yet they ended in fiasco when met by facts published by world respectable media.
Iran is a neighbor, dialogue must be initiated with it for the sake of peace and stability in the region. We were in good terms with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but were surprised by the sudden shift towards imposing the blockade which we consider a betrayal of Qatar.
V.S.: As we know, in Qatar there is an important western military base. But, on the other hand, Al-Jazeera was accused of propagandizing for some Arab structures and groups that support terrorism, where is the reality? And how will relations develop with the USA, NATO and the EU?
Abdulla Nasser A. ALHEMAIDI: Demanding Qatar to muffle freedom of expression, shackle free press and block the truth, betrays clearly the timidity and weakness of these people, Al-Jazeera remains a platform for one opinion and the other and the endeavor to dwarf it constitutes a violation of the media freedom and the States who demand its closure possess scores of channels that are geared to incite hatred.
The relations between the State of Qatar and the United States of America are historical and strategic and there is close cooperation between the two friendly countries in various fields.
The relations between the State of Qatar and the NATO, European Union, United Nations and its affiliating organizations are also strong and evolving – we always look forward to further developing them.
V.S.: We live in the era of change in international paradigms. Qatar is an important member of the energy sector, a member of the Islamic Conference, the League of Arab States and OPEC. How can Qatar’s relations with these regional organizations be affected? What are the economic, political and diplomatic effects due to occur in the coming period?
Abdulla Nasser A. ALHEMAIDI: The State of Qatar has continued to strengthen its ties with the international community and will further develop its relations with all active and peace-loving countries, international bodies and organizations in the region and the world at large.
Despite the attempts to subdue the state of Qatar and destroy its economy, Qatar remains strong and steadfast, and we are acting to take advantage of the unique economic situation of our country. We will maintain a high level of transparency and political and economic stability as being the most important factors in the resilience of Qatar and its advanced ranking among the countries of the world.
V.S.: There is a delicate issue concerning the Qatari diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia. The demarcation of the Saudi borders led, at different historical periods, to regional conflicts. Does this crisis have such roots? Please specify some national and regional strategies that would re-launch bilateral relations with the Arab countries. What are the concessions to be offered on both sides?
Abdulla Nasser A. ALHEMAIDI: The principles that the State of Qatar believes in and adopts them for a guide in its relations with others are based on mutual respect, rejection of dictates, respect for sovereignty, non-interference in the internal affairs of other States and observance of international laws governing the relations of the States.
The reasons behind the current crisis are due to the attempts made by the blockading countries to impose guardianship over the State of Qatar, undermine its sovereignty and interfere in its internal affairs. This is unacceptable. We consider that a red line. The States, which are enjoying full independence and sovereignty, agree with us to such rejection.
Interview by Vasile SIMILEANU