Qatar: One Year of Embargo – memories of the German division
If we look at Qatar today, then we inevitably feel reminded of Germany, its division and the history of the Berlin Wall. It seems like reliving the recent German history when we see families being torn apart, friends separated and careers ended. One year ago, in the midst of the Arab world, Qatar involuntarily became a self-reliant island of the free world. Just as constrained between the powers as Berlin once was.
Beginning in June 2017 Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar, imposed a trade embargo, canceled contracts and closed all land, air and sea borders. This blockade, which has incalculable and dramatic consequences for countless people on the Arabian Peninsula, marks its first anniversary today.
It is a sad anniversary that we face today. An anniversary marking the advancing instability in a fragile region. It is the anniversary of a political, economic and humanitarian crisis.
But it is also a day to remember our success in the international level in overcoming the crisis, through dealing with the crisis in a civilized manner in accordance with the principles of International law. The Cohesion, harmony and reconciliation has significantly contributed to overcoming the crisis.
We are always open to dialogue and seek solutions to this conflict. At the same time, we will not give up the sovereignty of our country. The blockade must end, in peaceful dialogue, in cooperation and in the development of a common future.
In the meantime however, it has become clear that the embargo has not met the targets of the blockading states. Significantly, Qatar was able to strengthen its further development, the economy and its independence. Qatar has taken remarkable measure and policies to overcome this siege. The solution of the crisis presents an opportunity to return to the previous cooperation in the region, which is based on two principles: the mutual respect of sovereignty and on building an equal relationship between the countries of the Arab world.
As a strong partner of Germany in the Middle East, Qatar represents a soft power for peaceful, positive development in the Gulf region. Economically, the Qatari investments of more than 21 billion Euros in Germany and the export force of Germany to Qatar are proving our close ties, while at the same time the cultural exchange of our two countries reaches new heights.
This is the context in which Qatar’s national vision 2030, with its four pillars aimed at human, social, economic and environmental development, should be seen. Our vision 2030 aims at advancing our society and empowering our country in order to preserve its achievements and secure a high standard of living today as well as for future generations. The program aims at realizing a prosperous society. A society that compassionately pursues high moral standards and can thus play a significant role in the international community. Our wish for the entire region, and especially our Arab neighbors, is to overcome this conflict with the help of the world community together.
What makes us sensitive to the history of the German division today is the topic of human rights.
“Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and return to his country,” reads Article 13 (2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. By joining the United Nations, our neighbors have recognized this declaration and with it the right to free movement. The human rights violations committed by the blockading states on a daily basis cannot and must not be tolerated by the world community.
The Berlin Wall fell 29 years ago. To learn from history means to tear down walls between people, wherever they rise up, and to let freedom triumph again.
Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani
Ambassador of the State of Qatar to Germany