*Peace and stability in the Middle East can be restored only when countries in the region agree to work together to reach consensus on key challenges: Sheikh Mohamed
*'Qatar open to dialogue; not responsible for failure of talks to solve Gulf crisis'
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani participated on Saturday in a panel discussion on de-escalation in the Gulf region at the 56th Munich Security Conference.
Members of the panel were Oman's Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Kuwaiti Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Ahmed Nasser al-Mohamed al-Sabah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu, and US Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Christopher Murphy.
HE Sheikh Mohamed reiterated the call of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani for a binding regional security agreement in the Middle East and the need for cooperation to address collective threats.
He said that crises in the Middle East were interconnected and required comprehensive solutions. HE the Deputy Prime Minister expressed Qatar's belief that peace and stability will be restored only when the region's countries agree to work together to reach consensus on key challenges, with regional players determining security-related affairs, and stressed that security will be a pre-requisite to prosperity.
HE the minister noted that His Highness the Amir spoke at this same podium two years ago, and shed light on the critical challenges happening in the Middle East and called for collective action to solve them. "Everyone can agree that the Middle East desperately needs sustainable regional security agreements to ensure long-term stability," he said highlighting that Qatar has been ranked one of the safest countries in the world despite being located in a geographically turbulent region.
"As we scan the region for what's needed, we see that a successful Middle East accord needs to be: 1. collective and binding, 2. based on agreed principles of security, developed with rules of governance, dispute resolution, and accountability, 3. respectful of sovereignty and equality among its members, and 4. a commitment to non-interference in internal affairs," he said.
"It is precisely the manipulating interference, justified with political, social, and religious ideologies, that causes so much turmoil in the Middle East," HE the minister added before noting that it was these repeated interferences by adventurous rulers with risky miscalculations that lead to devastating consequences.
He said manipulating one another to achieve dominance, through direct or indirect interference, puts the region in a perpetual state of volatility. He stressed that zero-sum games do not apply to diplomacy, especially in the Middle East.
"Instead of applying exclusion or oppression, we have a greater chance of achieving long-term security through direct, accountable collaboration and dialogue within a regional security framework," HE Sheikh Mohamed said.
"With these foundational principles: collective, binding, accountable, respectful, and the regional members can agree on security rules, including: modern security technology, such as early warning systems, CBMs, and establishing a non-proliferation zone; counterterrorism cooperation in stopping terrorist financing and money laundering, while enhancing intelligence sharing, with all parties operating with a clear non-politicised definition of terrorism; aviation and maritime security to ensure free and safe passage through the region; and a forum for dialogue on real, practical, and imminent threats."
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs stressed that any future economic and political dimensions must be built on fundamental security.
"Once we deliver basic stability to the Middle East, we can build enough trust and confidence with each other to advance regional trade, development, and the productive use of energy resources," he said. "We have seen firsthand that security is a prerequisite for prosperity. Furthermore, stability for the wider Middle East cannot be a reality without a separate legitimate peace process made directly between Palestinians and Israelis. Their peace process must be comprehensive, just, and lasting, and must be based on international law and UN resolutions."
HE the miniser said the world continues to talk about occupation in the year 2020, stressing that "a genuine two-state solution is essential, so the long-oppressed Palestinian people finally receive the right to self-determination and right of return, with East-Jerusalem as their state's capital, based on the 1967 borders".
"Beyond the borders of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we all know the many regional and internal disputes that would complicate this proposed wider, collective regional security agreement
from the war in Yemen, to the sanctions on Iran, to Syria's humanitarian catastrophe driven by war-criminal leaders, to the conflict in Libya, to the blockade of Qatar," he said.
"However, if each nation in the Middle East comes together in good faith and with a willingness to transparently commit, we can create a structured framework, with binding mechanisms and conflict resolution, where all states will be held accountable for achieving peace and sustaining security."
HE the Deputy Prime Minister called on each nation of the Middle East to say "enough is enough," and take this critical first step towards regional development, reform, and integration. Addressing nations outside the Middle East, he said the region needs their diplomatic help to get every Middle East country to the table, and to enforce international law.
"If we, the international community, seek to achieve global security and stability, we must preserve and strengthen the world order. We must go beyond managing crises, and instead utilise inclusive multilateral diplomacy to seek comprehensive and just solutions. We can only do this with binding mechanisms in accordance with the provisions of international law and resolutions, ultimately intended to protect civilians," he said.
Referring to the fact that Qatar called for a comprehensive Middle-East agreement two years ago, he said such a regional security agreement in the Middle East is needed more than ever to enforce basic security principles.
"With the international community's help, and despite the gravity of the geopolitical tensions, together, we can achieve stability in the Middle East through collective dialogue and commitment," he said.
Replying to a question on efforts to resolve the crisis with Saudi Arabia, HE the foreign minister said Qatar was open to dialogue, adding that Qatar was not responsible for the failure of talks.
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