Qatar’s emir has offered to host a “meaningful dialogue” in an attempt to calm Arab-Iranian differences that underlie key conflicts in the Middle East.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani told a United Nations General Assembly gathering of world leaders that there was not, in his opinion, a conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslims but instead regional political disputes between Iran and the Arab countries of the Gulf region.
The emir said his own country’s relations with Iran were “growing and evolving steadily”.
Arab-Iranian tensions have been at play in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.
Qatar has been a stanch supporter of rebels in Syria and Iraq as well as the Hadi government in Yemen. Iran has taken almost the exact opposite stance.
The emir also said that persistent Israeli violations of the Al Aqsa Mosque’s sanctity showed the absence of its will for peace.
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He indicated that ultra-orthodox fundamentalist and nationalist elements had taken control of Israeli policy.
“Doesn’t this tantamount to religious fundamentalism? Isn’t this violence an act of terrorism carried out by radical religious forces?” the Emir said. “The international community is failing in what is less than a fair settlement, it did not even succeed in forcing the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the aggression.”
At a Norwegian-sponsored conference Qatar pledged to pay $1bn for the rebuilding effort in Gaza Strip. “We are providing aid to Gaza Strip until the end of implementing our commitment, but we wonder: What happened to the conference and its decisions,” asked the Emir.
On the Syrian crisis, the Emir said its present and future dimensions and repercussions are generating catastrophic consequences for the Middle East and even the world. The Syrian regime, he said, has manipulated the concept of terrorism by depicting peaceful demonstrations as terrorism, while it has been practicing actual acts of terrorism.
The shelling and killing of civilians brought the people to adopt armed action, he continued. And some organisations that are not committed to the demands and principles of the Syrian revolution entered the sphere of political action without permission.
Syria has, thus, turned into a war zone after which its regime has attempted to scare the international community away from an alternative (to it, the regime).
The Emir said that as the Security Council had failed to find fair solutions to the Syrian crisis, the General Assembly must be activated and strengthened as a broader framework for dealing with people’s issues.
Talking of Yemen in his address to the General Assembly, the Emir said: “We affirm our commitment to Yemen’s unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty”.
“And we support the legitimacy and completion of the political process in Yemen in accordance with the Gulf initiative, its executive mechanism, the output of the national dialogue of January 2014 and Riyadh Declaration of May 2015, as also Security Council’s resolutions.”
It is not reasonable to have a precedent that a basic political party accepts the outcome of a national dialogue and then tend to neglect it and try to impose its own vision and domination over the whole country by arms.
Concerning Iraq, the Emir said its stability requires a national consensus devoid of any outside interference and free from any discrimination, whether sectarian or ethnic.
“And we hope that the Iraqi government would be able to meet the requirements of reconciliation among the various factions of Iraqi people.”
Any political solution in Iraq, Yemen, Syria or Libya must include ending the existence of militias outside the legitimate institutions of the state, the Emir said.