In the name of Allah the Most Merciful, The Most Compassionate. Distinguished citizens, and all those who live on the good land of Qatar, brothers and sisters,
In these circumstances that our country is passing through, I wish to address your conscience in the language of reason.
We speak in rational terms in assessing the phase we are going through, to plan the promising future that our people have proved aptly worthy of, and touched by the spirit of solidarity, harmony and defiance that prevailed and frustrated the hopes of those who banked on the opposite side because of their ignorance of the nature of our society and our people.
As you know and since the onset of the blockade, day to day life in Qatar has continued as normal. The Qatari people instinctively and naturally stood up to defend the sovereignty and independence of their homeland.
All those who live in this country have become spokespersons for Qatar. Here I would like to recognise, with great pride, the high moral standard exercised by this people despite the campaign of incitement as well as the siege.
They combined the solidity of stance and magnanimity of behaviour that has always characterized the Qatari people. They have amazed the world by maintaining a high level of tenacity in tackling the situation, despite the unprecedented incitement in tone and language, the honor-related prejudices, and the unparalleled blockade in the relations between our countries.
This was tantamount to a true moral test where our society has achieved great success, as we have proved that there are basic principles and norms that we observe even in times of conflict and dispute, because we respect ourselves first and foremost. I call upon all to continue this approach, and not slip into what is inappropriate for us, nor for our principles and our values. The sons and daughters of this country have realised, with common sense and political awareness, the seriousness of this campaign against their homeland, and the goals of the siege imposed on it.
They have seen through the heavy curtain of fabrications and incitement, without blurring or distorting their vision, and were able to understand the implications of the attempt to impose pressure on this country, and the gravity of the subservience to language of incitement, threats and diktats.
It has become evident to those near and far that this campaign and the steps that followed it had been planned well in advance, and that its plotters and implementers carried out an attack on the sovereignty of the state of Qatar by planting statements that had not been spoken, in order to mislead public opinion and the world and achieve predetermined goals.
Those who took these steps did not realize that the people of the world do not accept injustice so simply, and people do not believe the forgeries of those who do not respect their minds. After all, there are limits to the efficacy of orchestrated propaganda that is not believed even by the very people who forged them.
Therefore, Arab and non-Arab countries that have a respected public opinion stood with us, or at least did not stand with the siege despite the extortion they were subjected to.
The States that have taken these steps have banked on the effect that terror-supporting charges would have in the West, while appealing to the sentiments and preconceived notions of some marginal discriminative forces in Western societies.
It soon became apparent to them that Western societies are like us, in that they do not accept levelling the accusation of terrorism purely due to political dissension, or for purposes such as suppressing pluralism at home, or distorting the image of other countries and isolating them at the international level. This behavior itself, although far from being just, ultimately inflicts damage on the war on terror.
Moreover, in a similar political stance, Western political, civil and media institutions reject diktats and impositions.
This is evident from the international reaction to the conditions that some have tried to impose on us, especially controlling our external relations, infringing on the independence of our policy, shutting down media outlets and controlling the freedom of expression in our country.
We know that there have been differences with some GCC countries over Qatar’s independent foreign policy. We too do not agree with the foreign policy of some member states of the GCC, especially over the attitude towards the aspirations of the Arab peoples, supporting just causes, and distinguishing between legitimate resistance to occupation and terrorism, in addition to other issues.
However, we do not try to impose our opinion on anyone. We have never thought that these differences would spoil the sense of amity. There are many commonalities for which the GCC as a regional organization has been established.
Some brothers thought they were living alone in this world, and that money can buy everything.
They have committed yet another mistake, as many States and institutions have reminded them that this world is not for them alone, and that many countries do not favour immediate interests over principles and long-term interests, and they have come to know that even underprivileged countries have dignity and will, and that they cannot impose things that history has long left behind.
They have tried to undermine two principles that humanity has made sacrifices for. First, the principle of sovereignty and the independent will of States; secondly, freedom of expression and the right to information. Freedom of expression is meaningless if the citizen does not have the right to access information. Qatar has quashed the monopoly on information through the media revolution it started, and it is no longer possible to go back. This revolution has become an achievement for all the Arab peoples.
We have been very saddened to see how some countries have used defamation and fictions against Qatar to stir political malice against us in the West. This is a disgrace under all norms: first because the allegations are baseless, and secondly because they have wrongfully prejudiced a sister country. Do we not teach our children at a young age that lying and malicious snitching are two of the worst vices? Is slander and tarnishing a reputation not a crime punishable by law in all civilized countries?
The Emir said that Qatar is fighting terrorism, relentlessly and without compromises, and there is international recognition of Qatar’s role in this regard. It does this not because we want to appease anyone in the East or the West, but because we consider terrorism, in the sense of it being an act of aggression against innocent civilians for political ends, a heinous crime against humanity; and because Qatar believes that the just Arab causes are impeded by terrorism, which affects Arabs, Islam and Muslims.
We disagree with some on the sources of terrorism. For example, we say that religion is a moral motive, and not a source of terrorism that could lie in radical ideologies whether religious or secular. Even these extreme ideologies become a source of terrorism only in socio-political environments that create frustration and desperation.
While the disease of terrorism must not be underestimated, we cannot ignore other issues in our world. We believe that the whole world, including our region, also suffers from problems such as poverty, tyranny, occupation and others. This suffering needs to be addressed, as it is also a significant root cause of violent extremism and terrorism.
I do not want to underestimate the scale of suffering and pain caused by the siege, and I hope that this malevolent approach in dealing among brothers will come to an end, and that differences may be resolved through dialogue and negotiation, for this approach has tarnished the image of all GCC countries in the eyes of the world.
It is high time to stop making the citizens of our countries pay the price of political differences among governments. Our Arab region has known the method of revenge and collective punishment of citizens of the other country in case of disagreement with its government, and we have so far succeeded in avoiding this here in the Gulf. But the countries that asked the Qataris to leave, separated members of the same family, and asked their citizens to give up their jobs, their families and leave the State of Qatar, have decided to use this method.
This behaviour on their part is not only against international law, but it also affects their own citizens, the values and the norms of dealing between people.
As you know, we did not retaliate, and we have let the citizens of the other countries make their own decisions to stay in Qatar or depart, each according to their own circumstances and will.
Any solution to this crisis in the future must include arrangements to ensure that this retaliatory approach in dealing with innocent citizens will not be repeated when there is a political dispute between governments.
Despite the bitterness caused by these steps, the most prevalent proverbial wisdom in the Qatari society these days is: “Every cloud has a silver lining “, which corresponds with the Quranic verse: “And perhaps you may hate something which is good for you.”
This crisis has driven Qatari society not only to explore its human values as I have indicated , but also to draw on its sources of strength that lie in its unity, will and determination. Further, the efficiency with which the government, with its various ministries and other state institutions, dealt with the crisis to cater for all the needs of the population, has ensured that the people did not feel any difference in their daily lives.
The same qualified persons in technical, administrative, political and media fields who dealt with the situation rationally, calmly and with resolve, are capable of building our economic independence, protecting our national security and strengthening our bilateral relations with States in this world.
We are called upon to open our economy to investments and initiatives so that we produce our own food and medicine, diversify our sources of income, achieve our economic independence through bilateral relations of cooperation with other countries, in our geographical environment and worldwide, and on the basis of mutual interests and mutual respect. We also call upon ourselves to develop our educational, research and media institutions, as well as our sources of soft power at the international level and with the interaction of the best national, Arab and foreign expertise. All of this of course will be in cooperation with the residents in our country who work, contribute and live with us, and who stood with us throughout this crisis.
On numerous occasions I have directed our institutions to pursue the pursuit a policy of economic openness and diversification. At this stage, this is no longer a matter of luxury for us, but a binding and inevitable course of action, leaving no room for complacency. This is the responsibility of all of us, government and business community alike.
This crisis has helped us identify the shortcomings and obstacles in determining Qatar’s national, political, economic and independent identity and in deciding to overcome and surpass these obstacles.
As we pass through this test with honor and dignity, I am addressing you to emphasize that Qatar needs every one of you to build its economy and protect its security.
We require diligence, creativity, independent thinking, constructive initiatives and interest in academic achievement in all disciplines, self-reliance and fighting indolence and dependency.
This is not just wishful thinking, and these are not mere dreams. Our goals are realistic and practical, based on the continued determination that Qataris have shown during this crisis. This is not just a passing wave of enthusiasm, but rather the basis for further awareness in building the homeland.
Qatar is going through an important phase that has provided opportunities, not only to build upon, but also to bridge the gaps and address shortcomings, if any. We are not afraid of identifying errors and correcting them.
Under my direction, the government will do whatever it takes to achieve this vision, including the required economic openness, the removal of obstacles to investment, and the prevention of monopolies in the context of building the national economy and investing in human development. I have also directed the government to allocate newly-discovered gas revenues that God has blessed us with to investment for our future generations. Qatar has lived well so far without it.
We will also continue to work on the international arena to deepen bilateral cooperation and conclude bilateral agreements between Qatar and other countries.
We highly value the mediation efforts undertaken by my brother, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, Emir of the sisterly State of Kuwait, which Qatar has supported from the outset. This is an opportunity to express my thanks once again for what he did and continues to do. We hope that his sincere efforts will be culminated in success. We also appreciate the American support for this mediation, as well as the constructive positions of Germany, France, Britain, Europe in general and Russia.
I would like to commend the important role that Turkey has played in the rapid adoption and direct implementation of our Strategic Cooperation Agreement that had been previously signed, and to thank it for its immediate response to meet the needs of the Qatari market.
I also thank all those who opened their airspace and territorial waters when our brothers closed theirs.
We are open to dialogue to find solutions to lingering problems, not only for the interest of our States and peoples, but also to spare the efforts that are being wasted in vain by countries moved by malicious scheming against their brothers in the international arena, so that these efforts may be invested in serving the causes of the Ummah.
Any solution to the crisis must be based on two principles: first, the solution should be within the framework of respect for the sovereignty and will of each State.
Secondly, it should not be in a form of orders by one party against another, but rather as mutual undertakings and joint commitments binding to all.
We are ready for dialogue and for reaching settlements on all contentious issues in this context.
I cannot end this speech without expressing solidarity with the brotherly Palestinian people, especially our people in Al Quds (Jerusalem), and denouncing the closure of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the first of the two Qiblas and the third of the two Holy Shrines, hoping that what is happening in Al Quds be an incentive for unity and solidarity instead of division.
In conclusion, I would like to thank you for your solidarity, cohesion, determination, resolve and civilized behaviour, and to congratulate you on the spirit of nobility, love and amity prevailing in our land nowadays. These are our assets, our provision and energy to counter the great challenges in the way ahead.
May Allah’s Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon you all.