H.E. MUBARAK BIN FAHAD AL THANI, Ambassador of Qatar to Serbia: Ambitious Plans and Open Policy

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Qatar really did prove with its actions and official statements that it does not support  terrorism, and that it does not tolerate terrorists and its supporters, regardless of where they come from. Also, Qatar promotes peaceful resolution of the conflict in the Middle East and other parts of the world, and has been working with regional and international peacekeeping forces in order to achieve this. The cooperation with Serbia is good and the next step would be creating a platform for a dialogue between the business people from both countries through forming a Qatari-Serbian business council – says Qatar’s Ambassador to Serbia, H. E. Mr. Mubarak bin Fahad Al Thani.

In the middle of the “storm” in the Middle East, all of a sudden, Qatar got “accused” by the group of Arab countries as a “supporter of terrorism”. Why Qatar as a “sacrifical lamb” among all other countries?

› Qatar is not going to be “the sacrificial lamb” because its wise government is aware of what diplomacy is, and it has ambitious plans and exercises opens policy. Qatar really did prove with its actions and official statements that it does not support terrorism, and that it does not tolerate terrorists and its supporters, regardless of where they come from. Also, Qatar promotes peaceful resolution of the conflict in the Middle East and other parts of the world, and has been working with regional and international peacekeeping forces in order to achieve this. We would like to invite other countries to follow in Qatar’s footsteps in fighting terrorism and drying out its financial sources. Also, we would like to invite them to sign memoranda similar to that that Qatar has signed with the United States of America regarding fighting terrorism before making accusations which are not based on solid evidence. Also, we would like to reiterate our invitation to dialogue instead of creating media reports which goal is to demonize the State of Qatar. The states, that have imposed the blockade, have tried also to impose their guardianship over the State of Qatar, and have been exerting pressure until we surrender to their demands. However, they were also very surprised by the resilience of the Qatari people and their support to the country’s wise leadership, and the steps made by the government in order to preserve our dignity and sovereignty.

Is the allegation of “getting closer to Iran” motivated by economic reasons, since Qatar became a competition to other countries in the Gulf, as a work destination and with the Qatar Airways growing?

› Some GCC (The Gulf Cooperation Council) countries have a much closer coopeation with Iran than Qatar does. For instance, the United Arab Emirates and Iran have a very close economic cooperation. The trade between these two countries amounted to $16 billion last year, while Iran’s trading with the Emirates accounts for 90% of its total trade with theGulf states.

What is wrong in getting friendly with Iran after all? Shouldn’t there be peace between Shia and Sunni Muslims finally?

› The relations between the State of Qatar and Iran is characterized my mutual benefit based on the principles of international relations and international law, and are not directed against any countries in the region and wider. The State of Qatar wants peace for entire humankind, and stability in the entire region and the world alike.

How do you rate the role of Al-Jazeera as a global media since its inception?

› The State of Qatar is proud of Al-Jazeera since it represents a platform for freedom and expressing different opinions, which, in turn, proves that Qatar believes in the freedom of media, reporting and speech. The support that we got from various international journalist and media associations, which are also against certain countries’ demanding for Al-Jazeera to close down, is just a proof of Al-Jazeera’s pivotal role on the international media scene. Al-Jazeera no longer belongs only to Qatar and Qatari people, but has become a free platform for expressing people’s hope for freedom which is why certain entities are afraid of this media company.

How do you estimate the end of this crisis?

› Since the onset of the crisis, the State of Qatar has been appealing for dialogue, always advocating it as the best solution. Hence, Qatar welcomes sincere and dedicated effort of the Emir of Kuwait in resolving the crisis. Qatar still advocates dialogue to overcome crisis, on condition that sovereignty is respected and no demands are imposed, and in the spirit of the latest speech given by the Emir of the State of Qatar, H.E. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

The economic cooperation between Serbia and Qatar isn’t big, but can it grow?

› The Agreement on Economic, Commercial and Technical Cooperation, and the Agreement on Mutual Promotion and Protection of Investments between the State of Qatar and the Republic of Serbia have created a legal framework for improving the economic cooperation between the two countries. The next step would be creating a platform for a dialogue between the business people from both countries through forming a Qatari-Serbian business council, and advancing the cooperation between respective chambers of commerce in order to boost the mutual trade which currently stands between $6 and $7 million.

What the Qatari entrepreneurs could be interested in Serbia and vice versa?

› There are many investment opportunities in Serbia which has recorded a big progress in improving its business climate, and has huge natural resources, strategically valuable geographic position, and highly qualified and professionally trained workforce. These are the reasons why the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) wants to visit Serbia in order to get better acquainted with its investment opportunities and devise projects that are complementary with the Qatari investment strategy. On the other hand, thanks to its large-scale projects and many subsidies, the State of Qatar is considered an appealing destination for investors from all around the world, including Serbia.

Do you think the Middle East deserves a kind of Berlin Congress to end all the disputes?

› The situation in the Middle East is complicated and entangled since this is the area where the interests of many superpowers clash, which is the reason why the situation demands from all sides to sit down and negotiate regardless who these sides are. First and foremost, the situation requires a sincere will from all parties involved in order for it to be resolved because, without this will, any kind of dialogue is pointless. <

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