HE Qatar’s Foreign Minister Dr. Khalid bin Mohammad Al-Attiyah reaffirmed the firm stance of the State of Qatar towards supporting and protecting the Syrian people. In an interview with Al Jazeera Arabic Channel aired last night, HE the Foreign Minister said that the agenda of Geneva II should be clear-cut so that time is not wasted. “Geneva II is a good opportunity for the Syrian opposition alliance to show the world that they are serious,” he said. If Geneva II fails, HE the Foreign Minister said there could be direct intervention of the UN Security Council in Syria. “Qatar sticks to its unflinching stand on the issue of supporting the people of Syria,” HE the Foreign Minister underlined. In reply to questions that there is consensus in the international community that the resolution of Geneva I should be implemented, HE Al-Attiyah said that all military operations should be brought to a stop in all parts of Syria and safe passage must be ensured for humanitarian aid to the needy all over the country.
HE the Foreign Minister said that those conditions were approved unanimously by the international community. He said that the United National Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s invitation letter to both parties to meet in Geneva adopted those conditions, and thus they become the working agenda for Geneva II meeting. There are no differences of opinion over the formation of a transitional government in Syria, he said. The Syrian opposition, however, doesn’t want (President) Bashar Al Assad’s men in this government,” HE Al Attiyah said. HE the Foreign Minister said that Qatar supported the Syrian people from the very beginning after we gave up all attempts to find a peaceful solution. At the beginning of the Syrian crisis HH the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani made direct contacts with Bashar Al-Assad to urge him implement fast and immediate reforms, but the contacts stopped after the Syrian regime started to send messages the included its intention to take the security solution as the only solution to solve the Syrian crisis, HE Al-Attiyah added.
Then HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani visited Damascus when he was the Hair Apparent and tried to dissuade him from the security solution, followed by a visit by HE the Prime Minister then, all this was at the beginning of the crisis in March 2011, he added. Asked about the allegation of Qatar’s conspiracy against Syria, HE Al-Attiyah said that Qatar has no interest, it urged the Syrian regime on the reforms, including the encouragement and support in the field of investment, but the regime did not respond. Qatar gave a full opportunity to engage in dialogue and negotiation and tried to deter the regime from using military force against its people, and again it did not respond. “Qatar has principles, many of the brothers have confusions about Qatar’s policy sometimes. It is true that policies are based on interests, but I assure you that the priority of Qatar’s policy is built on the principles, HE Al-Attiyah said. Concerning Hezbollah, HE Al-Attiyah said that Hezbollah is supposed to be a resisting party, we regret its involvement in the Syrian crisis. In 2006, the Syrian people shared their homes with the brothers from Southern Lebanon, the Syrian people provided all possible help in 2006 war, the Syrian people do not deserve that from Hezbollah. He added that Qatar has no contacts with Hezbollah, adding that the coordination for the release of the kidnapped people was with the Lebanese government.
HE the Foreign Minister underlined that there are no differences at all with Saudi Arabia as well over the Syrian issue. He said that Qatar and Saudi Arabia were the first countries to support the Syrian opposition alliance, so the talk of differences is baseless. “We have high-level communication with Riyadh.” HE Al-Attiyah said that Qatar supports the Syrian people through channels approved by the Friends of Syria to support the Syrian people in its revolution to defend itself. The groups of friends includes more that 60 countries, and the support is arranged through the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Military Council (SMC) led by Salim Idriss, and now they have a defense minister. The Foreign Minister believed that the Syrian regime in insisting to remain in power even if it killed all the Syrian people, it is very hard that the regime would make concessions to achieve a settlement in Geneva II without a real international pressure and intervention. Meanwhile, Al-Attiyah added that Geneva II represents a great opportunity for the Syrian opposition to prove to the world that the Syrian regime is not serious, and therefore, the Syrian regime will lose even its closest allies. “We have great confidence in the Syrian opposition because its knows what it want and it has a strong will and can achieve the outputs of Geneva 1,” HE the Minister said. Asked if there is any change after the inauguration of the new Emir and the new government, HE Al-Attiyah reiterated that Qatar has principles in its foreign policy inherited from that grandparents and can not be changed. Maybe everyone has a method in the application of these principles, but Qatar’s principles are fixed. About excluding Iran from Geneva II, HE the Foreign Minister said that Iran wields influence over the Syrian regime so it can play a key role in resolving the Syrian crisis. “So Qatar is against Iran’s exclusion from the Geneva II conference.” Talking about the consequences of the failure of Geneva II and about any direct intervention from the Security Council to resolve the crisis, HE Al-Attiyah noted that HH the Father Emir and then HH the Emir have pushed hard towards adopting an Arab solution under the umbrella of the Arab League. “We in the region always blame the other, and always blame the West and America for not saving the region. It has become necessary now in the Syrian issue to find an Arab-Arab solution.” Concerning the new developments in the Iranian nuclear issue, HE Al-Attiyah said that Qatar considers Iran as an important neighbor and despite the differences over the Syrian issue, Qatar has relations with Iran. He said that Qatar supports the peaceful solutions for the Iranian nuclear program, and support the right of every country for the peaceful use of nuclear technology. He added that Qatar welcomed the tentative agreement with the West (5 +1), and is looking forwards to be implemented.
However, Qatar believes that Iran is not the only country in the region that should be free of nuclear weapons. The whole Middle East region should be free of nuclear weapons, including Israel. HE the Foreign Minister underlined that the GCC countries are more united than expected when it comes to the security of the Gulf region. He said that a beautiful thing about the GCC states is that member states respected each other’s viewpoints and sovereignty and they know where the red line is and they never cross that. HE Al-Attiyah underlined that there are no differences with the United Arab Emirates over the situation in Egypt. He said that Qatar and the UAE enjoy very cordial relations and even share joint strategic projects. “Our communication with the UAE is excellent,” said the Foreign Minister. The Minister said that Qatar is still supporting the Egyptian people, and does not wish any harm to Egypt.
Concerning the Syrian refugees, HE the Minister said that the number of the Syrian community in Qatar reached 50 thousands after the revolution. He underlined that Qatar is cooperating with the concerned bodies to host more Syrian refugees, noting that even if they did not come to Qatar, Qatar is providing all support under the directives of HH the Emir. (QNA)