HE Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway: We have had the opportunity to discuss the current challenges in the Gulf. From the Norwegian side, we have joined European countries and demanded the reduction of tension and de-escalation regarding the Gulf crisis. When it comes to finding a solution to this crisis, we have been firm in supporting the Kuwaitis in their efforts to do so. Other than that, our bilateral discussion were good. We talked about companies invested in Qatar, and we have cooperated on peace and reconciliation for many years. Therefore, I am pleased to have His Excellency Mr. Mohammed here for this meeting.
We welcome you and your delegation.
HE Minister of Foreign Affairs: Thank you very much Børge for receiving us here. I am very pleased to be visiting Oslo for the second time after our visit last year. As His Excellency said, Norway and Qatar have a friendly relationship between them. We have an economic bilateral relationship, and many Norwegian companies are doing well in Doha. Of course, we discussed the recent events in the region and in Qatar, and by Qatar I mean the blockade imposed by three Gulf states and Egypt. Qatar has been accused of many things that those countries have failed to provide evidence for after weeks of the blockade. We want to thank Norway for calling for the reduction of tension and de-escalation. Qatar has always followed a policy of not taking revenge and responding in a civilized way to this crisis. Of course, we can't escalate the issue in a region that can't tolerate any more escalation. Therefore, we thank Norway and we are willing to be responsive to the Kuwaiti mediation.
We appreciate the position of the friendly countries who are calling for dialogue and the settlement of this crisis through diplomatic means. We have had the opportunity to discuss bilateral cooperation, peace and reconciliation. We will also have the opportunity to discuss other regional issues, especially the situation in Gaza, the Middle East peace process, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan; where Qatar and Norway cooperate. There is so much on the agenda to discuss. Børge, I would like to thank you for hosting us and look forward to continuing our discussions and promoting cooperation regarding our ongoing dialogue.
HE Minister of Foreign Affairs: The question was not heard, but I believe it was referring to the Saudi position on pilgrims. The answer to that is that there are more than one hundred crossing the border, and yesterday we said that the Saudi authorities did not respond to the Qatari Ministry of Endowment that should consider the security and safety of pilgrim who go to Saudi Arabia to through the Qatari Hajj Mission. We have to cross the border to do so and they must be accountable by the Saudi authorities, the authorities are responsible for their security and safety.
HE Minister of Foreign Affairs: The question was not heard clearly. The answer is yes, of course, when the crisis broke out between Saudi Arabia and Qatar we did not want it to reach this level. When there are legislations or Saudi laws prohibiting anyone from sympathizing with Qatar, and preventing Saudis from expressing their opinions of sympathy or support for Qatar or else they will be imprisoned or fined three million Saudi Riyals, this leads us to have concern for Qataris. The level that this crisis has reached, especially the tone of the Saudi media and the stirring up of hatred toward Qataris is a serious concern. Therefore, we ask the Saudi authorities to respond to the request of the Ministry of Endowment to not politicize Hajj, where pilgrims were first banned from going because of a political decision, and now are allowed to cross the border in another politically motivated decision.
Question: I would like to ask you three questions in Arabic. Your Excellency, have you heard of any reactions to the Kuwaiti initiative and have you received anything? Was it allowed for the Qataris to perform Hajj this time based on the context of the initiative or as a response to the Kuwaiti mediation? The other question is, why did the Saudi monarch, according to Saudi media, receive Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani? who said that the reception was because of the mediation he did to allow the Qataris for perform Hajj.
HE Minister of Foreign Affairs: Regarding the reactions to the Kuwaiti initiative, we in Qatar sent our message two days ago to His Highness Sheikh Sabah. This has always been the behavior of the State of Qatar in dealing with and respecting the Kuwaiti mediation. Meanwhile, we have not heard anything yet from the four blockading countries. There has continuously been progressive behavior from them as they still declare that Qatar supports terrorism, yet they have failed to provide any evidence for such claims. They have also marketed this to friends and reached a level of despair that pushed them to buy seconds of Western channels airtime to publish their ads, unfortunately, this constant behavior is what we have become accustomed to from the beginning of the crisis.
As for the matter of allowing pilgrims to perform Hajj and the mediation they talked about, I think that the issue of Hajj should not be politicized. We continue to demand that Hajj should not be politicized. As long as they consider allowing Qataris citizens perform Hajj through mediation that means that have politicized Hajj, and they were asking for mediation to let them.
Regarding Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali's visit to the King. As we mentioned, according to the information we have, his prior visits to the Crown Prince were for personal reasons. As for the King's visit and reception, we did not receive any information about the issue to clarify and give context. Is it the continuation of a series of conspiracies we have seen against the State of Qatar since the beginning of the crisis, which is a repetition of history, as it has repeated itself since 1996.