Posted on Feb 19, 2018 in Allgemein

Key quotes from His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar’s Speech at Munich Security Conference

1. “Today, many governments and international powers act with impunity, without regard for human rights. The lack of accountability for good governance is widespread. It’s no wonder that people are losing hope…individuals who would otherwise have stood trial for war crimes against their own people are possible candidates in presidential elections! An audience such as yourselves must be able to see how and why many people, even entire nations, are losing faith in international accountability. They think—arguably right— that many of the global mechanisms for conflict resolution, and the maintenance of rights have been paralyzed and sidelined”.
2. “My region provides ample evidence of this: the grievances of the Palestinians since the Nakba, seventy years ago, remain stubbornly in place; conflict without resolution in Syria, Libya, and now Yemen. The suffering of people in my region may appear distant to an audience in Munich, but the waves of refugees make these injustices a European concern. And the darkness of terrorism now casts a shadow on the entire world.”
3. “Suffering and injustice pave the way for terrorism to flourish. Evil actors will twist religious dogmas to poison the minds of desperate people. Extremist religious doctrines pose an undeniable challenge to all of us. They exist in every culture, and the Muslim world has no monopoly on them. It is clear that we are obliged to combat religious extremism. But, having said that, attributing violent terrorism to extremist ideologies is too simplistic. It does not explain why violent extremism has become a major threat in my region, while extremist ideologies can be found anywhere.”
4. “The patterned failure of states in my region, to provide basic needs to its people, paves the way for extremism. So often, the very states which neglect basic needs also block every possible pathway for peaceful reform”

5. “Today as we speak, ISIS has been militarily defeated in Iraq and will soon be defeated in Syria; but the real battle, laying the foundations for peaceful coexistence, has yet to begin. We must turn our attention to ending the circumstances which afforded ISIS a continuous stream of willing recruits in the first place.”
6. “In the Arab region, a group of leaders rising to power after independence had promised to deliver freedom, social justice and Arab unity to their peoples. Instead of fulfilling those promises, the Arab state has degenerated to become one in which the people have to choose between, on the one hand, “security” in a basic physical sense, and on the other hand, their dignity, freedom, and aspirations for social justice. Instead of wise leadership facilitating gradual reform, regimes corner people into fighting for their dignity.”
7. “It is no secret that during the most recent GCC crisis, my own country was able to experience some of these factors in full-force. It has been a futile crisis manufactured by our neighbors, some of whom are major regional players, once believed to be stabilizing factors on the world stage. That is no longer the case. Their adventurous policies have undermined regional security and the economic outlook for the Gulf Cooperation Council as a strategic bloc.”
8. “Had regional relations been guided by a set of solid governance principles and the rule of law, we would not have seen nations with limited resources being blackmailed into bartering their foreign policies for external aid. Other nations, who also needed financial aid, refused the offer, and stood for their values.”
9. “Had regional relations been guided by a set of solid governance principles and the rule of law, we would not have seen the exploitation of wealth, power or geographical constraints to satisfy the thirst for power.”
10. “By diffusing the impact of the illegal and aggressive measures imposed on our people, Qatar preserved its sovereignty. This failed blockade shows how small states can use diplomacy and strategic economic planning to weather the storms of aggression from larger, ambitious neighbors.”

11. “It is vital to the interests of the people of the Middle East to guarantee the independence and sovereignty of states like Qatar, which refuse to be forced to take sides in the stand-off between two entrenched camps.”
12. “Preserving the sovereignty and the independent decision-making of countries like Qatar ensures accelerated development…development like free media and free speech that the “blockading countries” insist we surrender.”
13. “I believe that it is time for wider regional security in the Middle East. It is time, for all nations of the region to forget the past — including us — and agree on basic security principles and rules of governance, and at least a minimum level of security to allow for peace and prosperity.”
14. “All nations in the Middle East, small and large, need to agree on a baseline of co-existence, backed by binding arbitration mechanisms, and enforced by the collective body of the region.”
15. “Shifting from feuds to cooperation will require that we each be held accountable, like:
a. allowing the flow of humanitarian aid to pass across borders,
b. allowing safe and free passage to families,
c. providing access to religious sites to all faiths,
d. preventing the desecration of historic and religious sites, and respecting common trade routes”
16. “The Middle East is at the brink…it is time to bring it back. All of us here, especially those who enjoy more power and wealth, have a responsibility to solve the conflict. The Middle East will need help, from the larger international community to succeed in such a mission.”
17. “I ask all nations in the Middle East to accept an invitation to participate in such a holistic security agreement. I urge all nations to continue putting diplomatic pressure on my region to get this done. We must start with a regional security agreement before the Middle East can put the turmoil in the past. With the greater good in mind, we remain hopeful for a future where true security, both for the state and for the individual, is established for all nations.”