Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my honor to be speaking at the Munich Security Conference once again. It is always a pleasure to exchange ideas with you.
The Amir of Qatar 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.
We can all agree that the Middle East desperately needs sustainable regional security agreements to ensure long-term stability.
Qatar has been ranked one of the safest countries in the world, and yet we are geographically in a turbulent neighborhood.
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.
It is precisely the manipulating interference, justified with political, social, and religious ideologies, that causes so much turmoil in the Middle East.
These repeated interferences by adventurous rulers result in risky miscalculations with devastating consequences.
Manipulating one another to achieve dominance, through direct or indirect interference, puts the region in a perpetual state of volatility.
A zero-sum game does not work in 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.
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, stopping terrorist financing and money laundering, while enhancing intelligence sharing, all operating with a clear non-politicized 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.
Ladies and gentlemen,
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.
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.
Let us not forget that it is 2020, and we are still talking about an occupation.
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.
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.
We invite each nation of the Middle East to say “enough is enough,”
and take this critical first step towards regional development, reform, and integration.
And for nations outside the Middle East, we need your diplomatic help to get every Middle East country to the table, and we need your help enforcing 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 utilize 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.
Ladies and gentlemen, now more than ever, we need a regional security agreement in the Middle East to enforce basic security principles.
There are more than 42 million people in desperate need of aid in my region, and millions more are living through mass atrocities.
Qatar believes in the power of dialogue and commitment.
Recently, we witnessed a breakthrough in the ongoing peace talks in Afghanistan, which have been hosted in Doha for years.
This breakthrough serves as a step towards an Afghan peace, and a hopeful proof that a commitment to negotiation can - create - results.
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.