HE LOLWAH R M AL-KHATER

Qatar 2020 | DIPLOMACY | INTERVIEW

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is focused on pushing forward Qatar's foreign policy, sharing information and perspectives that could be useful for regional security and advancing the Qatari narratives on many issues facing the world today.

Lolwah R M Al-Khater
BIOGRAPHY

Lolwah R M Al-Khater was appointed Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar in 2017 and Assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in December 2019. Before her appointment, she joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Minister Plenipotentiary. She also served as the director of planning and quality at Qatar Tourism Authority and as a research project manager at Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development. She is also a Media City board member and executive director of the Doha Forum. Al-Khater is also a board member at The Institute for Palestine Studies. She holds a master's of science in computing and a master's of arts in public policy. She is also a doctoral candidate in philosophy at the University of Oxford.

What have been your main areas of focus when it comes to improve the foreign affairs of Qatar?
The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs aims to communicate Qatar's foreign policy with the rest of the world, to clarify any misconceptions or unverified information, and to advance the Qatari narratives on many issues facing the region and the world today. Qatar continues to be an active member of the international community, hence, communicating our messages with the rest of the world is vital. We continue to work closely with our partners and allies in the region and outside the region, to bring views closer, and to share information and perspectives that could be useful for our regional security and stability, in addition, to ensure a better understanding of not only Qatar, but the Middle East in general.

What is the holistic strategy of the ministry to increase diplomatic ties?
Qatar has always strived to strengthen and enhance its ties with the rest of the world, regardless of geography. This has been tested ever since the blockade on Qatar was initiated in June 2017, where we saw the significance of reaching out to more countries for possible cooperation in all matters and in different areas. We always keep in mind our shared values and common interests when initiating new ties or strengthening a current one. We need to emphasize the fact that Qatar has an open-door policy, and it continues to welcome friendships and cooperation with the rest of the world, be it diplomatic, commercial, or in any other sector and area.

How would you describe the current situation of the blockade, and what efforts is the ministry undertaking to mitigate this situation?
Qatar has been coping with the blockade effectively and efficiently; in fact, Qatar has defied the blockade and its intended effects and consequences. Life in Qatar continues to function as normal, despite the blockade entering into its third year. The only thing that remains and continues to be an obstacle and hardship is the disconnected families in the Gulf. Many Qataris have extended families elsewhere in the Gulf; the citizens of blockading countries cannot meet their families from Qatar, and families have to meet in a third country unfortunately. Kuwait and Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah have worked tirelessly to put this crisis to an end and resolve it with mediation, and for that we greatly thank them and appreciate their ongoing efforts to bring everyone closer; however, the blockading countries continue to be unresponsive, unfortunately. Qatar stands firm behind the need for dialogue and communication to resolve the GCC crisis and end the blockade, which we called for since the early days of the blockade. It is important to keep in mind that any dialogue happening should be based on four principles, which HH Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad has addressed previously during the 48th meeting for Shura Council: mutual respect, shared interests, no dictation on Qatar's foreign policy, and no internal interference.

What does it mean Qatar to host major sporting events in the world from a diplomatic point of view?
Sports is a crucial pillar in Qatar's diplomacy, and we can achieve a lot through sports, sports bring people together, it bypasses all differences, all political and non-political disputes, and it is a way to showcase how tolerance and the spirt of sports wins over all political disputes. It is also important to highlight that Qatar embedded the importance of sports within Qatari society, which is why since 2012, Qatar celebrates the National Sports Day' every year in February. The day is aimed at encouraging people to practice a healthy lifestyle and for sports to be a daily and integral component of their everyday routine.