Qatar currently finds itself in the middle of an Arab world in flux. What are the pillars of the country's foreign policy that aim to restore order in the region?
Qatar is a stable, progressive country in a complex and often misunderstood region. Because of this stability, we have been able to develop effective relationships in the Middle East that allow us to facilitate conflict resolution and open doors for our allies that would otherwise be closed. Qatar's foreign policy is conducted in accordance with an integral strategic plan developed by the leadership of the country, known as the Qatar National Vision 2030, and this outlines the framework through which Qatar will further solidify its diplomatic position regionally and internationally. At the center of Qatar's foreign policy is the belief that international peace and security can be achieved only through dialogue based on principles of equality, compliance with international law, respect for human rights, and protecting human dignity—especially during times of crisis. It is with these guiding principles that we approach the stability of our region; by achieving peace and security for the Middle East, we will help pave the way to achieving a more stable world. Qatar has become a powerful and effective mediator among our allies and in the Middle East. This is a role that we believe represents an open door to peace, because of our country's stability, and our commitment to foster a dialogue among all parties in order to find peaceful solutions and avoid conflict.
What is the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in paving the way for Qatar as a country investing in opportunities abroad?
Qatar's global fund represents a long-term investment strategy and we have substantial interests in emerging markets as well as in Europe. In addition, foreign aid is a central component of Qatar's foreign policy strategy. The State of Qatar believes that economic development and social inclusion is the safest and most reliable path to peace and stability. Qatar's foreign aid contribution is now nearing the $1 billion mark annually, spread across 100-plus countries. On a relative basis, it is worth mentioning that Qatar actually spends more on international assistance. The State of Qatar is a generous development partner, but we have also proved to be a dependable ally to developed nations in times of crisis. What comes to mind here is the case of post-tsunami Japan, a country whose trust and friendship we really value. Year in and year out, Qatar provides critical support and development in post-conflict countries, helping them build the institutions most needed for a peaceful and prosperous future. Doing so falls both under the strategic interest and our moral obligation to build a better, safer world for all our children.
Over recent years Qatar has strengthened its ties with the countries on the Latin American continent. In which fields do you see opportunities for mutually beneficial resources?
The Middle East and Latin America are two emerging regions that are opening up to the world and we are keen on enhancing our relationships with Latin American countries. This is part of a wider geopolitical shift worldwide. As we maintain closer relationships with Latin American countries we can work together to promote economic development and solidarity among our nations. This year, we were proud to launch “Qatar-Brazil," a joint cultural program to build bridges and open communication between our two nations and serve our shared goals and common interests.
Qatar has rapidly grown to a position of international importance. What is the long-term vision for the country when considering its position in the region and the world?
In the words of the Emir, His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani; “We do not live on the sideline of life, and we do not drift without a destination; we are a people with a vision." The long-term vision for further enhancing our position in the region and in the world is focused on engagement for the purpose of promoting peace and prosperity in the Middle East and the global community. Qatar will stand firm and fulfill its shared responsibility to regional peace and stability where needed. Qatar has always been, and will continue to be, an engaged participant in the formal multilateral and regional forums, whether it is the United Nations, the Arab League, or the Gulf Cooperation Council. We recognize the need for, and the value of, these cooperative and rules-based institutions. Qatar will always aim to be a constructive party in these organizations and support the crucial initiatives they promote.
© The Business Year - January 2015