‘West hurts own values in Gulf crisis’

Qatar says it is relying on its region, not on West, to overcome challenges of blockade

December 15, 2018 10:55 pm | Updated 10:55 pm IST - Doha

 Qatar Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdul-rahman Al-Thani.

Qatar Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdul-rahman Al-Thani.

Western nations jeopardised their own values during the ongoing crisis in the Gulf region, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said on Saturday. He was speaking at the 18th edition of the Doha Forum, a dialogue platform attended by leading global players.

To a question whether Western nations had been helpful after Saudi Arabia and its allies imposed a blockade on Qatar last year, Mr. al-Thani said Qatar had not seen much movement from the West during the crisis. “We are still relying on our region,” he said, reflecting a sense of disappointment with the West on how it had dealt with the crisis. Appreciating the role played by the Emir of Kuwait, he hoped that engagement with the region would repair relations.

Regional alliance

Contending that the interests of the U.S. and the West were tied to key Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, the Foreign Minister agreed that the regional alliance would have to be redesigned. The GCC currently did not have any mechanism to deal with regional conflicts, he added.

Somalia’s Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire said that the narrative around his country had to be changed now that there was a government sensitive to the needs of the people.

“We are the link between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean,” he said.

Terrorism, he argued, could not be defeated by military means alone, but needed investment and an end to corruption. “Our number one priority is that the perception about Somalia must change. The world has to see what Somalia can be, not what it was or is currently.”

Speaking at the same panel, Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Meleșcanu said the army was not the “only argument” in international relations and the EU planned an event with GCC countries to resolve the crisis in the region. Romania takes up the rotating presidency of the EU shortly.

( The writer was in Doha at the invitation of the Doha Forum, which is supported by the Qatari government )

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