His Highness the Amir’s Speech at the General Debate of the 73rd Session of the UN

In the Name of God
The Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate

Your Excellency the President of the General Assembly,
Your Excellency the Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I am pleased to extend congratulations to Mrs. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés on assuming the presidency of the 73rd Session of the General Assembly, wishing her success.

I express also our appreciation to His Excellency Mr. Miroslav Lajčák for his valuable efforts in managing the affairs of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly.

I avail also myself of this opportunity to commend the relentless efforts of the Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres, to promote the role of the United Nations and realize its lofty goals.

From this platform I extend my sincere condolence to the family of Kofi Annan and to the United Nations Organization on the passing away of the former Secretary-General, who was one of the most prominent of those who carried the banner of this organization in the service of international cooperation, development and peace among peoples.

Madam President,

The world faces serious security, political and economic threats and challenges that do not respect  national borders of countries and put to the test the United Nations as a framework for collective security.

If the international community wants to achieve global security and stability, it should go beyond managing crises and seek comprehensive and just solutions to them in accordance with the provisions of international law and resolutions of international legitimacy, away from selectivity, double standards and  policy of imposing a fait accompli by force.

We realize and appreciate the great importance of the existence of a comprehensive international reference reflected in a legitimate international order in which the rule of law prevails. It has become necessary to expedite the reforms required for the United Nations organizations to shoulder their responsibilities to achieve the noble goals of the organization and to respond to the ambitions and aspirations of peoples to achieve peace to enable them to realize sustainable justice, which is the theme choosed for discussion at this session by Her Excellency the President of the General Assembly.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

More than a year after the illegal blockade imposed on the State of Qatar, many facts were revealed about a pre-arranged campaign of incitement against it, beside the insinuation and fabrications used to create the crisis.

In the meantime, the international community recognized the falseness of the allegations that had been propagated against my country to justify the premeditated measures taken under the pretext of these invented and untrue allegations, in a flagrant violation of the international law and the basis of relations between nations, and the values and norms of our peoples.

Despite all the measures taken to inflict harm on Qatar’s security and stability, and create hardships for its people in addition to the economic warfare launched to hinder its development process, yet the period that followed the unjust siege has witnessed the strengthening of the status of the State of Qatar and consolidation of its role as an active partner in the regional and international arenas, and Qatar’s economy continued its growth as a proof of its vigor and consistency. The State of Qatar has also maintained its advanced  and leading rankings  vis-a-vis  the countries of the region in global  indicators, especially in the areas of human security and human development. This has strengthened the Qatari people’s faith in their potentials, values and principles, and cemented cohesion of their unity.

Believing in the soundness of our legal position, and in the necessity of peaceful settlement of disputes, and in dialogue as the best way to resolve crises, we have been, and still are, positively responsive to all the appreciated efforts of brotherly and friendly nations to end this crisis through an unconditional dialogue based on mutual respect for the sovereignty of nations.

In fact, it is not reasonable that differences in views about handling some regional issues lead to paralyzing the effectiveness of an important regional organization such as the Gulf Cooperation Council. The blockade on Qatar has harmed the reputation of the GCC countries, and the ensuing paralysis has reflected negatively on the Councils’ aspired role towards regional and global issues.

We hope that we will all transform the Council’s current plight into an opportunity for reforming it and putting forward binding mechanisms to resolve the differences among its states through intra-dialogue, to avoid any similar recurrence in the future.

It is not sensible for our Arab region to remain a hostage to some marginal differences, which are fabricated in our case, and which consume efforts and energies and waste funds exceeding what we need to allocate to the just causes that are supposed to be agreed upon by us.

Madam President,

Only a little progress has been made on the lingering issues of the Middle East, especially the Palestinian cause, which is the last vestiges of a colonial past in our world.

The political process, which began twenty five years ago, presented an example of a departure from the United Nations terms of reference to frameworks outside the UN – some had  perceived that as the best and fastest way in settling and finding solutions to it – supported by the Arab states in line with respecting the Palestinian decision, but that has resulted in  further stalemate and complexity. Now we are witnessing attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause through the liquidation of issues relating to the permanent solution such as Jerusalem, refugees, sovereignty and borders.

Just national issues can’t be solved by being subjected to the balance of power between the occupier and the occupied, but can only be solved in accordance with principles such as the right to self-determination and inadmissibility of annexation of territories of others by force, which have become part of the international legitimacy.

The deterioration of the situations in the Palestinian territories, particularly the inhumane conditions in the Gaza Strip, the suffocating siege it reels under, and the continued  construction of settlements in the occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank, portend grave consequences and lay a historic responsibility on the Security Council.

We reaffirm the importance of negotiations and the resumption of their tracks, but that will require commitment to the resolutions of international legitimacy, foremost of which is the two-state solution, and the Arab peace initiative, on the basis of East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian State, on 1967- borders. Moreover, there can be no solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict without a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian cause.

We abide by this position, which is consistent with international legitimacy and dictated on us by the human conscience. But Israel rejects this just settlement.

The State of Qatar will spare no effort to provide various forms of material and political support to the brotherly Palestinian people and to continue to work with all the international actors in the Middle East peace process to clear the difficulties that obstruct the resumption of the peace negotiations, in accordance with the terms of reference and resolutions of international legitimacy.

Madam President,

After the elapse of more than seven years, the international community is still unable to find a solution to the exacerbating Syrian crisis with all its aspects and dangerous consequences. In addition to the tragedies experienced by the Syrian people, they are worried and frustrated that the crimes of genocide, mass displacement and wholesale death in prisons under torture could become a common practice that the international community can get accustomed to.

The failure to deter the Syrian regime from committing crimes through the war waged against its people on the one hand, and not to be held accountable after committing them on the other hand, would render the provisions of international law and the human rights law devoid of any meaning.

This will have serious consequences on the prevailing values in our world by raising the existing ceiling for using violence to suppress the aspirations of peoples and trampling on the rights of citizens and people in our region.

We are facing a humanitarian, moral and legal catastrophe that obligates the international community to speed up reaching a political solution that stems the Syrians’ bloodshed, fulfills their aspirations for justice and freedom, maintains Syria’s unity and sovereignty and achieves security and stability in Syria and the region in accordance with the Geneva-1 Communique and relevant Security Council resolutions. We emphasize the necessity to abide by the International Humanitarian Law to protect civilians.

Regarding the Yemeni issue, we confirm the firm position of the State of Qatar, which is keen on the unity, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen. We call upon all the Yemeni parties to the national reconciliation to end the conflict on the basis of the Security Council Resolution 2216, the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and the outcomes of the National Dialogue.

From this platform, I appeal to active states in the international community to help the brotherly Yemeni people to overcome these conditions, which we hope would end soon and to work for taking all measures to address the grave humanitarian situation and to facilitate free access for humanitarian assistance to all areas in Yemen. On this occasion, I announce Qatar’s agreement with the United Nations to fight cholera in Yemen by supporting projects related to combating the causes of the disease and to halt its spread. We call upon other countries to join us in supporting this vital effort.

As for the Libyan crisis, which has recently witnessed developments that place the security of this country and its territorial integrity at stake, we look forward to restoring security and stability despite the enormous challenges facing the Libyan brothers. We note that foreign intervention in Libyan affairs further complicates the crisis and prevents reaching a national consensus sought by the Libyan brothers, and contradicts the Security Council’s resolutions. We reiterate our support for the Skhirat agreement signed in December 2015 and all its outcomes. We call upon all Libyan brothers to uphold the national interest and abide by dialogue without excluding any of the components of the Libyan community, to reach a comprehensive political settlement that preserves Libya’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and realize the aspirations of its people for security and stability.

In brotherly Iraq, we once again express our appreciation of the efforts of the Iraqi Government to restore stability and achieve national reconciliation by collaboration of all political parties and all components of Iraqi community and we value the successes and sacrifices of the Iraqi people in the fight against terrorism and extremism in all its forms.

We reaffirm our keenness to support the brotherly Iraq in the process of reconstruction and development, and to assist every effort seeking to ensure its unity and sovereignty and to enhance its security and stability.

Madam President,

There is consensus that terrorism has become one of the most outstanding challenges facing the world because of the real threat it poses to international peace and security. We affirm the firm position of the State of Qatar in rejecting all forms and shapes of terrorism anywhere in the world, regardless of the reasons and pretexts.

The fight against terrorism is among the priorities of the State of Qatar’s policy at the national, regional and international levels. We have developed legislative and institutional systems, fulfilled international obligations related to the fight against terrorism and its financing, and participated in all relevant international and regional efforts.

In our view, there are necessary prerequisites to make the war on terrorism achieve its goal and not to turn into a self-contained goal:

1. International cooperation in combating violence resulting from extremism and violence directed against civilians to terrorize them and to damage civilian facilities for political ends. These phenomena must be addressed firmly and rigorously.

2. Unifying the standards of fighting terrorism so as its definition does not selectively depend on the religious or ethnic identity of the perpetrator.

3. Addressing its roots and causes and researching in the political, social and cultural backgrounds that contribute to its breeding, and working earnestly to achieve just settlements of lingering issues that feed the feelings of anger and frustration.

4. Avoid giving partisan connotation to the term terrorism through tailoring it to fit into the narrow interests of some nations by using it to justify tyranny and repression of political opponents, which affects the credibility of combating terrorism and harms the international efforts exerted thereof.

In this context, the State of Qatar believes that educating youth and their comprehensive participation represents the first line of defense for the collective security system and an important factor in fighting terrorism and building peace and stability. Thus, we have committed ourselves to educating ten million children and providing economic empowerment to half a million young people in our region and in collaboration with the United Nations we carried out projects to promote employment opportunities for young people through capacity-building and the launching of programs to prevent violent extremism.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Human development and the protection and promotion of human rights are in the forefront of the priorities of the State of Qatar which pursues its efforts at the legislative and institutional levels to implement its National Vision 2030 that emphasizes human development. I refer here that this month the State of Qatar has acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The State of Qatar has recently promulgated a law regulating the issue of political asylum in the country to follow suit the developed countries, and another law granting the right to permanent residence in the State under conditions prescribed by law. It has also decided to invite several international human rights organizations to establish regional offices for them.

Madam President,

No one doubts the utmost importance of the development of information and digital technology and digital means of communication, etc. The economy and day to day life have become inconceivable without them.

However, a series of events recently experienced by several countries reminded us that new needs have emerged that were previously unknown, such as the freedom of access, and the need to protect the private sphere of citizens from the risk of hacking. It also alerted us to the cyber security of nations. These are cross-border issues because of the nature of the technology itself. Accordingly, it is necessary to regulate dealing with these issues and control their risks internationally. Qatar and other countries have suffered from digital piracy and digital espionage, and that has prompted us to strongly emphasize this issue and to be willing to work with United Nations organizations to regulate it legally. We propose convening an international conference to examine ways to have this matter regulated by international law. We express our readiness to host this conference.

Thank you, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you.