Thank you very much, Jean-Marie.
I am very glad to be here today and to be present at the World Economic Forum. I would like to thank my dear friend Børge, we worked together a lot when he was the foreign minister of Norway. Norway is a well-known country that supports peace, security and stability, not only in their region but also in our region, where we worked together in different areas, mainly in Afghanistan and Somalia, and it was a great partnership that we aim to continue between the State of Qatar and Norway.
Also, I am very honored to be here with my colleague Mr. Khemaies Jhinaoui, the Foreign Minister of Tunisia, which represents a great example in our region in the form of hope for the Arab world and Arab youth.
You have mentioned ISIS and the post-ISIS era and we believe it is a very important moment for all of us to understand that we have done a tremendous job by defeating the ISIS military, and it's about to be defeated. But what's next?
We must look at the root causes of ISIS and how they are nurtured. We have to stop this cycle of violence and the breeding of new violent extremists. We see that ISIS and other violent extremist groups growing in areas of political turmoil, social vacuum and disintegration, and economic problems and poverty. If we look at the security aspect of those groups terrorism will only disappear for a short while, but more and more groups will grow.
Let's not forget that ISIS is the evolution of Al-Qaida which was in Iraq .. ISIS didn’t start in Syria, it started in Iraq because of the political vacuum and marginalization of certain categories. They then they found a perfect place to nurture in Syria after the chaos that the regime created.
We see that we need to look at terrorism from two main angles. One being the ideologies, which are important. The capability of those people to use ideology to mobilize resources and recruit people is unprecedented. Another aspect is the vacuum of state and fulfilling its role socially, politically or economically. No radical groups will grow in countries that considers all of its citizens equals.
When we provide hope for young people and provide them with jobs and proper education, these people will grow to become better and will not be vulnerable to recruitment from violent extremists. There is evidence of using religion to achieve their political goals and we have to learn from what has happened before. The “Agreement of the Good Friday in Northern Ireland” is a good example of real integration. The main point of the agreement was providing people with equal opportunity and development.
This doesn't mean that the nation building support directed from the international community towards a certain categories. This is exactly what our region has suffered from, when it comes to international support, it's been directed and segregated based on backgrounds, ethnicities and categories of certain groups. We need to think in a more innovative manner to address those political, social and economic factors domestically and help those countries in building their nations based citizenship and equal rights for everyone. We also have to address it regionally, we have to stop this collaboration that is based on categories, sects or ethnicities and we have to build the capabilities within governments to reform themselves and fulfil their obligations towards their people. We believe that, yes, we are fractured in the Middle East, and we have our differences, but those differences will never be solved in the battlefield, at the end everyone will come to the table.
Now everyone from those different forces is trying to get maximum leverage to come to the table and to get to better conditions to do so. Who is paying the price? The people are paying the price. I believe the whole world should stand right now and urge all the players in the region to come to the table and to address their concerns around the table, and to focus on our people and the region; there is a lot of potential for this region if we put it in the right track.
We in the State of Qatar have been trying to advocate for this region for twenty years now. We still envision stability for this region by providing better life conditions and good education for the people.
We thought about young children who were out of school around the region, and we knew we could provide them with the equal opportunity to come back to school. So, we adopted many programs, and one is Educate a Child, which is currently educating 7.6 million children in vulnerable countries. The other aspect is youth empowerment and economic empowerment by providing youth with jobs. If you look at the ages of foreign terrorist fighters, you will see that most of them are from the youth and most hold university degrees. We see it's important to provide them with jobs rather than leaving them vulnerable to radicalization. Without the right political environment, I don’t think we will have an effective solution.
His Excellency stressed on the importance that we are not only distinguishing extremism to one party, extremism can happen across the board. The best way to handle this is to provide them with alternative and civilized ways to resolve their disputes. Neglecting those categories could lead them to violence.
Question: I'm wondering if it's a shared vision of the Arab world if the Gulf states are divided and the Arabs are fighting?
Until eight months ago, we thought we had a common vision, but not after the series of events and attacks launched against Qatar. But Qatar believes in the values and the importance of dialogue, we always called for dialogue. We believe that we should overcome those differences by engagement and not disengagement. We feel sorry that the GCC countries, which at a certain time represented a point of hope to the Arab world, that it's the most coherent and the most successful multilateral organization in the Arab world, now becomes an organization that is inactive and ineffective even in solving its member states’ problems. We can create a shared vision but first we must live together in peace and not by bullying other countries because they claim differences. This is an era where we need to live in coexistence while respecting sovereignty. I believe there is no compromise when it comes to sovereignty.
Question: As Kuwaitis, and our Emir, we have been trying to help the situation with Qatar. My question is, will Qatar compromise more to help get the GCC back together?
I speak on behalf of Qatar, and I think and believe that there is no country that can compromise its sovereignty and submit to another country. We strongly believe that this is a red line. We are willing to reach an understanding for a common goal and objective for all of us to live together, but we are not willing to engage in handing over our sovereignty and export our decision making process somewhere outside Qatar. I am not trying to answer questions vaguely or diplomatically, I am trying to express myself and my country's willingness towards dialogue and resolving this issue this way. There is no other way for us to encourage them or direct them to the table if there is not willingness to participate, our willingness alone is not enough to solve the crisis. We are trying our best to work closely with Kuwait, the United States and other countries in order to make sure that those red lines are protected. There is one very important condition for the reintegration of the GCC, after the recent events that happened to Qatar, that entails a new agreement and conditions that need to be imposed on all the countries to respect the sovereignty. Otherwise, if we keep the mindset of some of the GCC countries, that involves dictating their policies on all the GCC countries, this will not be acceptable to Qatar or any GCC nation.
Question: Is there any sign of hope for improvement between Egypt and Qatar?
We are always hopeful that we can bridge the gap between us and Egypt, and we believe that the differences between us are not fundamental differences. We care about Egypt's stability, and everyone who is claiming that Qatar is trying to play a destabilizing role in Egypt is a false accusation. Egypt’s stability is very important for the region. If we look at it from an economic perspective, we have existing investments in Egypt, they are the funds of our people and we care about their protection. There is no reason for Qatar to become a destabilizing factor for Egypt. Whoever is trying to build on those differences is trying to create a certain perception of Qatar. There has not been any engagement or willingness from the Egyptian side to engage. From our side Qatar has never tried to undermine the security of any country. Qatar has always worked together in partnership with other countries when it comes to supporting and helping countries in the Arab world, whether it's Egypt, Tunisia or any other country in the Arab world. We never go there on our own and try to dictate our own agenda.