The GCC crisis has been “a futile crisis manufactured by our neighbours,” the Emir told the Munich Security Conference on Friday.
“Some of our neighbours are major regional players, once believed to be stabilising factors on the world stage. That is no longer the case. The adventurous policies have undermined regional security and the economic outlook for the GCC as a strategic bloc,” he said.
“Despite the obstacles imposed upon us, including a full land, air and sea blockade beginning June 5 of last year, Qatar secured new trade routes, accelerated economic diversity, and bonded together in unity. Qatar emerged stronger.
“We have continued to trade with the wider world. We have not missed a single shipment of liquefied natural gas during this time. This is vital to the rest of the world, as we are the world’s second-largest exporter of natural gas and our exports ensure the stability of global energy supplies.
Sheikh Tamim reiterated that “by defusing the impact of the illegal and aggressive measures imposed on our people, Qatar preserved its sovereignty.”
“This failed blockade shows how small states can use diplomacy and strategic economic planning to weather the storms of aggression from larger, ambitious neighbours.
“Those aggressive actors wish to use small states as pawns within their power games and sectarian conflicts. It is vital to the interests of the people of the Middle East to guarantee the independence and sovereignty of states like Qatar, which refuses to be forced to take sides in the stand-off between two entrenched camps,” the Emir added.
“Had regional relations been guided by a set of solid governance and the rule of law, we would not have seen nations with limited resources being blackmailed into bartering their foreign policies for external aid.
“Other nations, who also needed financial aid, refused the offer, and stood for their values. Had regional relations been guided by a set of solid governance principles and rule of law, we would not have seen the exploitation of wealth, power or geographical constraints to satisfy the thirst for power.”
His Highness the Emir called on all nations in the Middle East to accept an invitation to participate in a holistic security agreement for the region.
“The Middle East is on the brink and it is time to bring it back,” he said while addressing the 54th session of the Munich Security Conference, which started Friday.
“We must start with a regional security agreement before the Middle East can put the turmoil in the past,” the Emir declared while urging all nations to continue putting diplomatic pressure on the region to get this done.
“It is time, for all nations of the region to forget the past — including us — and agree on basic security principles and rules of governance, and at least a minimum level of security to allow for peace and prosperity.
“All nations in the Middle East, small and large, need to agree on a baseline of co-existence, backed by binding arbitration mechanisms, and enforced by the collective body of the region.”
Having described the European Union (EU) earlier in his speech as “a body that has established shared security based on mutual interests, even amongst people who tore themselves apart in war”, Sheikh Tamim suggested “the Middle Eastern nations can mirror the efforts of the EU’s ability to find common ground to rebuild and prosper.”
“Shifting from feuds to co-operation will require that we each be held accountable, like: allowing the flow of humanitarian aid to pass across borders, allowing safe and free passage for families, providing access to religious sites to all faiths, preventing the desecration of historic and religious sites, and respecting common trade routes.
“Like it or not, Brexit is an example of a peaceful resolution of differences. No diplomatic ties were cut, and no blood was shed. There is a lesson here for us in the Arab region.
“The lack of accountability for good governance is widespread. It’s no wonder that people are losing hope. Individuals who would otherwise have stood trial for war crimes against their own people are possible candidates in presidential elections,” the Emir noted.