Blockade of Qatar, one year on

IT has been a year since the outbreak of the Gulf crisis. In fact, what brings the State of Qatar together with its neighbours is more than what separates it from them, especially, its geographical neighbours that I can simply say it is historical, because these countries united by blood, language, religion and common history.

However, the hacking of the Qatar News Agency (QNA) website on 23rd of May, 2017 and broadcasting a fabricated statement attributed to H. H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al- Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar.

The fake news- that have been used as a pretext to accuse the State of Qatar-aired on several networks belonging to neighbouring countries involved in this crisis, sparking a diplomatic breakdown.

We were surprised on 5th of June 2017 that these countries have cut off their diplomatic relations with Qatar and recalled diplomatic representatives, closed diplomatic missions imposed land, air and sea embargo.

Preventing Qatari students from continuing to study in these countries, taking individual and collective measures against Qatari citizens, infiltration of Qatari airspace, and disintegration of family members of the countries involved, are some of many other violations based on unilateral decision.

The four countries have claimed that Qatar works to support “terrorism”, and meddles in the internal affairs of their countries. The response from the State of Qatar was that no legitimate justification for the actions taken by the four countries to sever diplomatic relations and that the decision was a violation of Qatar’s sovereignty.

The ultimate objective of these measures in the end is to weakening the Qatari economy and currency in order to entice the Qatari people to revolt against their leadership, and to isolate Qatar regionally and internationally, but failed.

They have issued a 13-point demand list to be met by Qatar. However, Doha has rejected these false accusations, and rejected the failed attempt of custodianship imposition or prejudice to its dignity or sovereignty.

Many political leaders and analysts saw that the 13-point list was difficult to implement and destined to be rejected, and that what it was. Such a crisis does not serve the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) objectives, of which the State of Qatar is one of its founding members.

The State of Kuwait moved to mediate to find a way out of the crisis. The Kuwaiti commendable effort become in a short time an international initiative approved and supported by many countries around the world.

The shuttle diplomacy adopted by the Qatari leadership, represented by His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, and H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and officials of the Government of the State of Qatar played a major role in managing the crisis.

Qatar is adhering to the country’s obligations, and that dialogue is the way for finding a solution to this crisis. We reject any attempt to dictate it or to undermine the independence of our country’s national sovereignty.

Both H.H. the Emir of Qatar and the country’s foreign minister have reiterated that Qatar is willing to negotiate with the boycotting countries, and have welcomed calls from international leaders for the parties to sit down around a table.

The Emir said in a speech to the UN General Assembly in September last year “We have refused to yield to dictations by pressure and siege.” The State of Qatar has lodged complaints with the Human Rights Council of the United Nations’ and World Trade Organization (WTO) as well as with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) about the violations committed by these countries.

The Qatari Compensation Committee also estimated the losses incurred by these countries in billions of dollars. We have expanded trade and diplomatic relations under our wise leadership with many countries during last year, signed some agreements and memoranda of understanding with world powers, such as the agreement on Combating Financing of Terrorism with the United States.

Even though almost a year has passed, the State of Qatar exhibited comprehensive growth and development in all sectors despite the challenging environment due to the unjust blockade. In fact, there is no economic impact made by the blockade, if any, it is may be a moral one.

My country strengthened its partnerships, alliances, thwarted plots, and accusations labeled against it. Moreover, Qatar received International praise for the role it is playing as a key partner in the fight against terrorism, as Qatari citizens and residents alike are standing up against the siege without differences.

Qatar’s foreign reserves increased, this strong position partly supported by continued improvement in Qatar’s balance of trade, reliance on locally processed products, in addition to the ongoing efforts to increase its production of gas from 77 million tons to 100 million tons.

Diversification of the economy taken to a new height with the opening of Hamad Port, one of the biggest ports in the Middle East, which is the symbol of the Qatari resistance in the face of the unjustified blockade.

Worth mentioning, Qatar Airways continued to be amongst the best airline companies in the world. The national carrier of Qatar has played a vital role in securing essential needs, and the inauguration of Hamad Port has been a crucial factor in breaking the blockade.

Qatar’s achievements were realized despite the blockading countries making relentless efforts to disrupt and obstruct them by various means, which started with the blockade itself, and included pressure on other countries in addition to even spreading rumors and fabrications, and acting against hosting of the World Cup in 2022 by Qatar.

However, Qatar is on track to complete the World Cup facilities and their associated services as scheduled. These countries severed relations between common families in addition to Qatari’s seeking to perform Haj and Umrah face difficulties.

Despite all these violations, the State of Qatar remains steadfast in its position that dialogue is the way to find a solution to this crisis, and not by dictating and imposing conditions and demands on a sovereign country.

Qatar remains safe and stable, carrying on its humanitarian responsibilities around the world, and as such, its wise leadership have aborted the plot in its earliest stage, as this embargo has failed to undermine the state of Qatar and its people.

Qatar has emerged stronger and food and medicine production has increased exponentially.

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