HE The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden:
The Swedish Embassy opened in Qatar several years ago, and Qatar recently opened its embassy in Stockholm, therefore that is an opportunity to deepen our cooperation. In addition, Qatar is a priority country for Sweden in terms of trade and investment. We discussed the challenges facing the Middle East, including Qatar's relationship with its neighbors Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
Sweden and the European Union urge the parties to resolve the outstanding problems in an expedited manner. We also encourage the role of the Kuwaiti mediation, including the humanitarian side of the blockade.
For example, we have talked about the conflict in Yemen, the importance of reaching a political solution to end the war there, and the future risks of continuing war and conflict. I hand over the floor to the Minster of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar. Once against, I welcome you warmly. This visit was quick but the discussion were good.
HE The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar:
Your Excellency, thank you for hosting today. It is important to me to visit you here in Stockholm as we believe that bilateral relations between Qatar and Sweden have been and continue to be very important. Also, it is important to develop them and to take advantage of opportunities through bilateral trade.
We cooperate in various fields, especially in the fields of security, politics, and humanitarianism. We have talked about possible areas for cooperation and work together in different countries. As part of our discussion, we discussed regional issues, particularly the Middle East peace process and the issue of Palestine.
We talked about the recent developments in Yemen and Gaza, and agreed that the conflict in Yemen must reach a peaceful solution in order to end the humanitarian catastrophe there.
As part of the discussions, we also spoke about the situation in the Horn of Africa. There is also another issue related to the issues in the region, which is in Qatar. I explained to Her Excellency the circumstances and background information related to the illegal blockade and the unfair measures taken by three Gulf states in coordination with Egypt. These measures have led to a humanitarian situation where family ties have been severed, people were unable to perform Umrah and Hajj and access their properties. However, yesterday there were developments on the issue of Umrah and Hajj.
We discussed and explained to Her Excellency the Qatari efforts in various international organizations in our endeavor to reverse the situation and these unfair measures. We affirmed that the crisis must be solved diplomatically, and have spoken publicly saying that a solution must be put into effect. We support the mediation of the Emir of Kuwait and said if there are no grievances we would consider look into it.
I spoke about the recent information that has surfaced, particularly the letters exchanged between our Emir and the Emir of Kuwait. The message I conveyed yesterday to the Emir of Kuwait reaffirmed our desire to engage in dialogue based on mutual respect, respect for sovereignty and international law, collective obligations and the refusal of dictations from one state to another.
In addition, I believe there is a special area where we can cooperate together, and I believe that cooperation between the two countries is at a very good level. Our leadership's desire to develop this relationship is essential. We look forward to hosting you in Doha to exchange official visits between officials from both countries.
Question: Saudi sources said that the decision came through a Qatari personal mediation?
HE the Minister of Foreign Affairs: Regardless of the way in which the Qatari people and residents were prevented from performing Hajj, that was politically motivated, and their decision to allow them to perform Hajj is also politically motivated in ways that bring out other purposes. However, the State of Qatar welcomes this decision, but will not be taking a similar position, because we care about the crux of the matter. We want a way for our citizens to be able to perform Hajj and welcome decisions that will allow for that. We still demand that Hajj should not be thrown into political disputes and should not be politicized. Of course, it must be made clear that the authorities in Saudi Arabia have not yet explained to us the procedures applied to Qatari, and that the Ministry of Endowments will communicate with its Saudi counterpart to understand the context of the Qatari Hajj Mission and ensure their safety.
If no cooperation is found between the Qatari Hajj Mission and its counterpart, the Saudi authorities will be responsible for securing Qatari nationals during the Hajj season.
What came from a conversation about mediation according to our information is that the person who was present there for personal matters. This is normal, if there is any person from the ruling families that request an appointment, whether in the State of Qatar or the Saudi ruling family, they will be received by the Emir and vice versa. However, we are still in the context of the issue of Hajj that should not be prevented or allowed based on political agendas.
Question: We would like to repeat your response in English, please.
HE the Minister of Foreign Affairs: First, despite the political motives that are preventing Qatari from performing Hajj, there are also political motives to allow them to perform Hajj. We welcome this step as it is in the right direction. In order to put aside the blockade enforced on my country, we must commend the efforts of the Qatari Humanitarian Council, which played a fundamental role with international organizations. We believe that this outcome is a result of these efforts, the efforts of the National Human Rights Committee. We hope that the Saudi authorities will work with our authorities in order to ensure that Qatari are able to perform Hajj.
Question: Do you think this is a step in the right direction between the two countries?
HE the Minister of Foreign Affairs: We welcome any positive step to end this crisis and to being to put an end to the unfair measures taken against Qatar. We hope that this a positive step and that this will be the beginning of not involve humanitarian issues in this political conflict, and reunite families from both sides.
Question: Are there any other steps in the right direction to reach a solution?
HE the Minister of Foreign Affairs: From Qatar's point of view, our position has been clear from the start. We are willing to address any legitimate concerns the blockading countries might have, but we believe this will not legitimize the measures taken by these countries. We have taken positive measures since the very first day and have not reached the same level of escalation as they have. Unlike the blockading countries, we have been supportive and cooperative with the Emir of Kuwait and his efforts in mediation, and the efforts of the United States' government. We have addressed many issues with them and believe that any settlement must be based on clear principles that respect the sovereignty of all parties, this step is an element that can help us reach a solution in the future.
Thank you ,,,