Your Excellency Secretary General Jens Stolenberg,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my privilege to be among you today to exchange views on critical issues in my region and beyond.
The State of Qatar recognizes the importance of multilateral collective action for the achievement of international peace and security, and in this regard appreciates the role of NATO and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) in achieving this, particularly on common security issues, and strengthening regional and international efforts to achieve global stability and reconstruction in conflict zones.
The relationship between Qatar and NATO is of great importance, and our meeting today is a testament to our strong desire to strengthen this relationship.
As we reached the fifteenth anniversary of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI), I would like to underline the high value the State of Qatar attaches to our partnership with NATO.
Together, NATO and Qatar developed our regular political dialogue and enhanced our practical cooperation in many ways. We focus our cooperation on inter-operability, training and education, cyber defense, energy security, civil emergency planning and crisis management, and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Since its accession to the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, the State of Qatar has spared no effort to promote common security through our framework for consultation, exchange of views and cooperation in the areas of defense arrangements, regional and international efforts to combat terrorism.
Based on our firm belief in the need for cooperation to achieve sustainable security and peace at the regional and international levels, Qatar ratified the NATO Individual Partnership Program, which is a comprehensive framework for cooperation and joint action.
Last year, we signed an Agreement on the Security of Information and an Agreement on increasing military and security cooperation, allowing NATO forces and personnel to enter and transit Qatar, and use the Al-Udeid Air Base.
Ladies and Gentleman,
I am confident to say that the strategic relationship between the State of Qatar and NATO has reflected positively on peace and security in the Gulf region, the Middle East and the world.
Under the framework of the active partnership of the State of Qatar in supporting and strengthening areas of cooperation between the ICI and NATO and in support of NATO operations, Qatar contributed to NATO Operation on Unified Protector and to NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and operated side-by-side in Libya and off the coast of Somalia.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Qatar is determined to be a force for good in the world, and to play an active role in promoting peace.
The State of Qatar prioritizes preventive diplomacy and mediation at the regional and international levels to resolve disputes through peaceful means and to achieve the peace that we all desire.
Recent geopolitical events have shown that confronting serious threats and crises in our world requires a collective effort and international, regional and bilateral cooperation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to highlight two main collective challenges to peace and security we face today.
One, is the continuity of conflicts in the Middle East:
The solution: Dialogue and Diplomacy and Cooperation
Like NATO’s vision, Qatar is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. Based on the firm principles of Qatar’s foreign policy and its desire to achieve peace and stability in the region and the international community, we continue to stress the importance of resolving disputes by peaceful means.
Security and stability in the Middle East is a cornerstone of international peace and security. The State of Qatar reaffirms its continued support for all international and regional efforts to ensure the success of the political solutions to the crises in Syria, Libya and Yemen in accordance with the resolutions of international community. And has called upon all parties to the conflict in these countries to reach a national consensus to stop the bloodshed and achieve the legitimate aspirations of the people.
As the State of Qatar has participated in NATO's" Resolute Support" mission in Afghanistan, we are also engaged in diplomatic efforts to facilitate and host mediation between the United States and Taliban. We are witnessing unprecedented progress in the peace talks, in which Qatar is the main facilitator. Currently we are hosting successful rounds of talks.
The Afghan model is yet another example of how every violent conflict ends up at the table of negotiations. All parties today realize that they have to collectively engage in a meaningful and constructive discussion.
Two, is the growing threat of cyber-attacks:
The solution: cooperate to build strong and resilient cyber defenses
The world now contends that the risks posed by cybersecurity offenses pose a threat to international peace and security. Electronic piracy has become a means of creating crises and damaging relations between States to achieve special objectives, without taking into account the legal and political responsibility for such crimes.
In this context, I would like to point out that the current Gulf crisis and the illegal blockade imposed on Qatar, almost two years ago, was the result of a cybercrime and digital espionage. Qatar has been under a series of cyber-attacks on government agencies and officials and have taken unilateral actions against the State of Qatar in a flagrant violation of international law. This blockade however has not hindered Qatar’s commitment to cooperation under the ICI framework. In fact, Qatar is interested in benefiting from the capabilities in cyber defense and experience of NATO in this field.
As we discussed several ways of cooperation in our closed meeting with the Secretary General earlier this afternoon, we are looking forward to cooperate on additional programs that strengthen cooperation between Qatar and NATO in the future. The State of Qatar will spare no effort to continue to actively participate with NATO at the level of individual partnership or through the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative for International Peace and Security, by implementing programs to enhance cooperation and coordination between Qatar and NATO.
I look forward to hearing from you today your views on how Qatar can continue to provide support to NATO and the region, especially as they pertain to our strategic location and advanced capabilities.