Qatar is a major player in promoting dialogue, bringing peace and dealing with regional issues, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said.
In an exclusive interview to Qatar News Agency (QNA), Hammond praised the Qatari role in the International Syria Support Group as well as Doha’s efforts to bring closer points of view of the parties involved in the conflict in Libya whether through agreements or hosting meetings and talks, stressing that Qatar continues to play its role to ease tensions in the region.
The British foreign secretary said that his meetings in Doha discussed several issues, including regional policies, bilateral security, defence ties, and economic, commercial and investment plans between Qatar and the UK.
He described the visit as successful, highlighting the strong ties between his country and Qatar at the political, economic and security levels.
Hammond said his country supports Qatar’s right to host the 2022 World Cup even if the British media opposes that right. He added that British media does not reflect the stance of the government but, on the contrary, mostly disagrees with the official stances regarding a lot of issues.
As for GCC-British co-operation, Hammond said that during his current tour of the Gulf states he has held talks on regional and international issues, notably the critical role of GCC states in fighting the ISIS group and working to tackle regional challenges, particularly the crisis in Yemen.
The British official said his country’s views on the Yemeni crisis and the mechanism for resolving it are fully identical with that of the GCC, adding that the United Kingdom is committed to supporting the Yemeni people to help the country have a peaceful future.
The UK foreign secretary also rejected Iranian interference in the internal affairs of the states and its attempts to dominate the region, particularly in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, pointing out that the signing of the nuclear deal with Iran is a step forward to protect the security of the Gulf against the threats posed by nuclear weapons.
While lauding the agreement, he said: “We are fully aware of the fact that Iran continues its illegal activities that are destabilising neighbouring countries and continues to conduct missile tests in violation of the UN Security Council resolutions.”
Regarding the role played by Britain in the fight against ISIS group, Hammond told QNA that ISIS constitutes a threat to the region and the whole world, including Britain, through destabilising the Arab region and the potential for terrorist attacks in Europe and targeting civil aviation, adding that the international community should work together to destroy ISIS ideology. The destruction of the organisation represents a military challenge, while undermining its ideology is a political challenge, he said.
“We have to demonstrate that there is an alternative future for the younger generations across the Middle East and North Africa region,” the UK foreign secretary said, pointing out that violence and extremism are not a means to achieving a better life and that the practices of Islam are compatible with economic development and achievement of good growth rates as well as better standards of living, as it is the case in the Arab Gulf states.
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