tv Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister CSPAN February 1, 2018 9:11am-10:05am EST
and ruth bader ginsburg talking about law, media and jewish life. live coverage starts at 7 p.m. eastern. eastern. [inaudible conversations] >> good morning, everybody. welcome to the american enterprise institute. sorry for the brief delay, but i think you'll find that this is a conversation that you're going to find extraordinarily interesting. we are delighted to welcome today his excellency shaikh
mohammed bin adbulrahman al-thani, excuse my pro nuns asian and the deputy prime minister in 2017. he is responsible for all the of ministry of foreign affairs issues including planning, implementing foreign policy and here for a series of high level conversations, with the department of defense, the department of state and the white house. we're looking forward to hear the details of. what's going to happen. the minister will join us at the podium for brief statement and then sit down on the stage with our visiting fellow-- i'm getting your title wrong, the easier one, with our visiting scholar andrew bellin, and will open up to questions from the audience. there's a lot to talk about here. qatar has been at the center of what i think we'll all agree an ugly disagreement between gcc countries and others and one that divided traditional u.s.
allies and some divisions, i think, even within the u.s. government. so we are really very interested to hear your perspective, mr. minister. why don't you be careful on the steps and if you would just join us on the stage? >>. >> guest: good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for hosting me here and thank you for inviting me today. i hope that today i'll have the opportunity to shed the light on some of the issues in the middle east and the turmoil which is taking place in our region, which is not affecting only the interest of the region and the state of qatar, but affecting also the u.s. interests and i hope that i can promote some ideas for a way forward. so, the u.s. and qatar have been allies for 45 years. we have dozens of agreements that memorialize our commitment
to each other. this week, our country met for historic strategic dialog and in additional agreement the cyber security of critical infrastructure for energy. strengthening technology and developing international law enforcement to stop trafficking. and joint commitment. the public delegation could not have been welcomed with wider arms. there's a unique partnership. when the u.s. was searching for a hope in the middle east, qatar welcomed them. today qatar hosts the largest u.s. military foreign air base in the world. in qatar thousands of u.s. troops, thousands of u.s. teachers and students and hundreds of u.s.-owned companies are living and
working in qatar. qatar and the u.s. are strategically located. we are surrounded by powerful players in the middle east. some of these nations are bent on intimidation, aggression, and dangerous flirtation with war. make no mistake, these powers are feuding for domination, taking of prisoners not just neighborly. and afflicted by the hungry power forces, devastations in places like yemen, syria and somalia. and the well-being of citizens within these dominating regimes is also being sacrificed in the power grab. the illegal blockade started last year again, it's one of many instruments of sabotage intended to bully my country into submission. the world is discovering that
the black kaeding states will stop at nothing. illegal market manipulation, different kind of aggression, humanitarian assaults, silences the center, weaponizing propaganda and organizationing the global fight against terrorism. and these interrogation methods threaten the success of agreements between qatar and the united states. there is a silver lining of this blockade. qatar has been able to show the resilience and survive. and our countries in the middle east may not be able to withstand attack. as we have seen an example after example across the region. qatar joins the u.s. session for security in the middle east. the regional and short-term danger of aggression is happening before our eyes.
along-- along a spectrum of devastation. the world-wide and long-term danger of aggression will eventually reach countries around the globe. they will stop at nothing. intentional international destabilization of the energy and financial markets, and laying the groundwork for the next generation of terrorism. terrorism flourishes in oppressive closed regimes where the needs and rights of the citizens are not met. why many reckless leaders are surrounding us double down on hidden and oppressive means of government, qatar and many other nations in the middle east hope to keep developing into a nation that can provide justice and security to its citizens. as i told secretary tillerson and mattis, qatar sees the u.s.
as a critical part of that vision. ending the turmoil in the middle east will take further leadership. joint cooperation from all countries in the middle east is necessary to restoring lasting security to the region. qatar and the u.s. have been fighting terrorism together for many years. we agree that terrorism must not be -- must not only be destroyed through military effort, but also by lifting up a vision of optimist and hope. through lasting association transformations. we have warned repeatedly that enforces repression of reform and development, using the law of power and the power of law is detrimental to the counterterrorism efforts. the u.s. and other 72 members of the coalition against isis have spent years crushing this.
we don't want to find ourselves in the same situation again and again. we need to work together to completely end terrorism financing, recruitment, propaganda and extremist ideologies. wide leadership means put aside personal feelings to help the good of the people. it is our hope that gcc can be rebuilt, the citizens of qatar or for giving and resilient people. we wish for unity. we can't ignore the historic bond between the countries of the gcc and the shared family, cultural, and financial ties that can actually make us stronger. qatar hopes for a restored gcc, which is more transference and based on shared interest like trade and security. this restored gcc would need to
have a clearer process for raising and resolving differences, would need to be void of forced compliance regarding foreign policy and decision concerning domestic affairs. would need to be governed by reason over impulse. and would need to serve the west interest of all of its members. regarding the greater middle east region, we cannot leave this did he have -- area, the security plan must find common ground, include an arbitration mechanism that gives small and large nations equal protection and the provides binding sequences for those who create a crisis and threaten security. i hope the international community will join me in
calling for an immediate regional strategic dialog to agree upon common principles of could he existence. which can serve as a foundation for healing and ultimately prosperity for the region. thank you. [applaus [applause] >> [inaudible] e i wanted to try to touch on a point you talked about the future of the gcc. we looked at you were in kuwait this past september and i believe this is the first time yourself and his highness were with your gcc counterparts in many months and the meeting ended quite, quite abruptly. has there been-- and there's certainly, since your visit here, has there been
any indications of you seeing any optimism on the road to a potential kind of resolution or dialog, whether that be convened by president trump or more specifically convened by kuwait or are we still at an impasse? >> calling for the dialog and supporting the initiative of kuwait when he offered between to med yate between the gulf countries and accepted the invitation issued by the president for chance to call all the gcc members to camp david in order to see a solution forward, but when you have a conflict between parties and one of the parties is unwilling to engage in dialog or unwilling to engage toward the solution, then this dialog,
want a positive result because of the process behind the unwillingness. the gcc summit was unfortunately what we believed that at least for the first time that will see each other face-to-face and we caught that they have canceled-- and downgraded their presentation to the gcc meeting. so for us, we have done everything in our hands showing the goodwill toward the solution, but from the other side is not seriously. >> and do you think that the number of issues that are typically have been raised by your neighbors have been everything from media to interference in qatar's interference, they allege, in
the neighbor's affairs since 2014, that if there is a dialog point, as you said, that it does not appear that there is much momentum or will on your partner, on your neighbor's side for such dialog, that do you see that this has a potential opportunity that in light of president trump's kind of first the phone call with the amir earlier this month, and then potentially hosting at camp david style summit later in the spring, would there be-- does this give a window to at least find an opportunity for-- to have a proactive window to kind of find a way to bridge some of those differences, but do you think there's no real-- there's too much alike? >> when we consider the meeting in itself and the regional meeting together, it's at least
-- but there, should be by their willingness, it cannot be driven by force and we need the good intention, we need them to really prioritize what are the needs for this. even the secretary of state has mentioned that this is unnecessarily crisis being created out of this stable region. any light can be seen at the end of the tunnel if we are agreeing on a principle that all the countries are equal, there is no difference between the big and the small country, that all the countries enjoy the same rights and obliged to fulfill the same responsibilities, and a new principle would govern this relationship between all the countries. we cannot go with the nature of
the same relationship. there's a lot of trust being lost throughout this crisis and we hope that will be restored one day, but needs a lot of time to be those again. >> and you mentioned a mechanism for kind of a degree of monitoring and kind of accountability to rebuild those principles. would the-- do you think at the moment that the united states is that-- and with the secretary of state has been quite active in mediation, that there's a moment for more enhanced u.s. leadership and bringing the parties to the table for such a mechanism? because it strikes me at times that frankly, as much as the amir of kuwait has made many efforts, that those have not always been that received in riyadh and abu dhabi and there's a point, i think, many kind of increasingly see it as
kind of a deadlock. and to kind of break that, you see this as a potential opportunity for washington or for maybe doha to propose those set of principles to bring? >> well, definitely the intervention of the united states will make a big difference. and especially when it comes from the highest level, by the president himself or express his commitment to see the end to this crisis and he always called for gulf country, whenever he has a conversation with him or meeting with them he stresses the importance of the gulf countries to come back together and what also we believe in that we need to start a just and fair process and the secretary of state, who was visiting the region earlier at the crisis, he started to propose some good proposals which are-- can become a baseline for
further negotiation. and i thought it was very responsive to those proposals and we also sent back our-- what we thought about, but the same thing, it's ignored by the other side, we cannot do anything. we cannot have any breakthrough without them. >> in kind of looking at the state of the u.s. relationship, remember, there have been criticisms by members of congress to a letter to nikki haley about the state of the mou and certainly, to agree that the mou is not public, but there's also been kind after view in some corners of congress and others that had the mou's done enough, gone far enough? i think the state department certainly has publicly been supportive of it, but for kind of a more-- for the broader kind of american public and those who were not part of those negotiations, like, is there
any way to shed some light on-- on what is the mou and where it's headed? is this a first step? there will be additional steps taken to address issues on kind of, on terrorism financing a and-- >> to set the record clear, the mou, which was signed between qatar and the united states is part of the outcome of the president's visit to the gcc and the meeting between other-- the first country which signed into this process and this process objective is to build capacity within the countries of the gcc, starting a mon storing mechanism to hinder terrorism financing and also to develop the military frame work
for the work. and then establish very clear plan with milestone which is achieved by time frame and by everything. and i believe that there are some of the members of the congress already being-- they have looked at it and they know the progress we have achieved on this end. and also, there is a very clear and straight forward definition of the progress in the counterterrorism front and there's a clear statement that others and the united states partners in the fight against terror. we provided in this fight. not only in this aspect, but the military aspect of it. >> and will you do in, say, six months, kind of a temperature
check on the progress that was made so far in mou, and is there further discussion to enhance that and do you think that currently the steps taken so far from both washington and doha to kind of address some of the issues that-- and certainly some have been raised in the media, but to kind of address that from that step or is this a beginning frame work or-- >> the mou is an ongoing process. it's not something which has just a milestone and then we stop the cooperation. so there are some issues which can of be translated to a milestone that can be achieved, but there are some with continuous coordination which we already have with the united states. and we have like joint review between qatar and united
states, i'm not so familiar with the time frame of it, but so the u.s. and the task force are meeting together and reviewing the progress and everything is progressing very well. and some of the items are ahead of schedule already. >> i think it's often been noted that qatar was the first country to sign an mou on that and still other gcc members have not. is the ideal path to eventually try to interlink to get kuwait, saudi, to also agree to the similar standards on those benchmarks, to try to-- it strikes me that a lot of the terrorism finance issues are frankly not just defined by borders, but more kind of as a trans regional challenge. >> well, it's a challenge everywhere, not only in qatar and not only in the gcc countries, but even elsewhere and the evolution of this
phenomena of the terrorism has been very often especially in the last few years. so most of the legislation and the capabilities within those countries to keep up with the evolution. regarding the gcc and the frame work of the gcc and relation with them, actually it was part of our agreement as gcc countries, along with the united states, to enhance and develop our capabilities in terrorism-- conquering terrorism financing with the united states and each country should carry that out bilaterally, after the meeting. the other countries they have to join and i don't know if -- what their-- >> so looking at a few regional issues and then kind of open this up to the audience and one
to kind of look at is iran has taken a strong position in support of qatar against saudi arabia in the uae. what are the larger implications of a stronger relationship with tehran at the moment? >> well, first, we need to understand the geography of the region. if you look at this, we have one land border, which is by saudi arabia and it's been blockaded without even any notification before. so it's the only way to supply the food and medicine and the other supplies for the country. from the eastern side we have uae and we have this territory which we are sharing together and this for uae and the other
side is bahrain. and iran is to the north. so for sure, we will have this communication. after the blockade, the only way forward for our planes and for our ships to bring the supplies for our people, the food supplies, the medicine supplies, it's just by iran. we don't have any other access to bring our stuff from. this doesn't seem that we have an agreement with iran or with iran policy. this is never the case for us. we always distinguish between the economic relation and the political relationship. we comply with international law and politics we disagree with iran's policies in many
places, but not when it comes to in syria, we are on the other side much the equation. when it comes to the other policy with iraq, we are on the other side the when it comes to other policy on yemen, we're on the other side, but the way forward it overcome these challenges is not in the battlefield. it's not by confrontation. we are sitting together in one region. we have to reach an understanding that each other should-- we should respect each other's sovereignty. we should agree on common principles of security and could he -- co-existence. that no one launches hostility to another country. we don't believe that those proxies should continue and the people who are of the country
are going to pay the price. >> kind of looking at kind of the broader kind of -- the president trump kind of statements on pushing back iran and kind of a more enhanced regional strategy. do you see on qatar, certainly it's with centcom and having one of the largest military bases in the region, that in light of kind of some of doha's geopolitical realities and dealing with iranian proxies vis-a-vis syria and iraq, or lebanon or yemen, that at the moment that the steps to kind of build off of the president's kind of visit to riyadh last year, that there are some tangible areas where during your visit that you see opportunities to kind of make
progress and kind of on decreasing the behavior of iran's approximaties in the region? >> the only way forward will be a political solution. there is no military solution for any conflict in the region. if you will look at what's happening in those proxy areas, like yemen, what the price of people of yemen are paying right now. there are more than 20 million people. and they are suffering from starvation. syria, more than 500,000 being killed in syria. iraq, now talk to the stability to be restored, a lot of people have been displaced living as refugees, they're suffering from security issues. we are not the one who are paying the prices of those-- of those approxima proxies, the of iraq, the people of yemen,
the people, do you have the pressure on them until we achieve objective and bring iran to the table and solve issue. they don't deserve it. i think we need to stop everything right now and to agree on a principle that everybody should adhere to. at the end we would result to dialog. let us cut the way short and have dialog. >> do you see at the moment any space for political dialog on yemen? >> there will always be-- there will always be a place for dialog. qatar believes that everybody should be forced to dialog. everybody-- we should stop supporting anyone who is just want to fuel the fire and to fuel the war. this is something we have seen now the results of the last few years. the results are awful in the
region. cast catastrophic situation. our region is rich and our region has resources. the biggest problem is security, our people are feeling. and now with all of this war we don't see any positive outlook. we just see terrorism movement moving in the countries, more chaos means more terrorists. more chaos means more people in need. more chaos means that those countries will take longer time to have-- to rebuild themselves again and to become a country again. >> looking out, it was announced in recent days that turkey is expanding its military commitment to qatar and certainly, there's been a number of bilateral visits between ancar and doha.
what do you see what erdogan's intentions are in this relationship? >> first of all, turkey is an important country in our region. it has very strategic location. it is a world player. it's a member of nato and the second largest force in the-- so within the pack of the allies of qatar as well. and so, also, if you look at the bilateral relationship between, here we have a common interests together. we have strong strategic relationship, but turkey stood with qatar when it comes to supplies, when it comes to whatever support we have requested from them. and we have very good relationship when it comes to defense and to economic relationship.
there is-- whatever they're announcing about the military deployment, the turkish military deployment in qatar, it's not related to the security situation of the region. this is a defense cooperation agreement which qatar signed way before any crisis. we have signed it in 2014, end of 2014, december, 2014 and it's-- the same agreement, also, alo along-- in the fight against, and the same agreement is allowing them to-- our bases also to contribute to the coalition. and to this, the bilateral relationship between the countries. >> i think i have a final question on the regional issues, more looking at your relationship with moscow and with president putin. the kind of announcement or the
press reporting of a potential sale of the s-400 system to doha and how potential complications that could prove to have with subcom and also under u.s. treasury sanction law. is there sort of an area of-- is the value of a potential s-400 system a potential defensive measure in light of the current regional environment or is this still kind of a-- how bus of this balancing of qatar navigates a relationship with washington, but also with moscow and others, or is it being overly read into, it's more speculation, the sale? >> there is nothing that-- what i can assure you, qatar always compliance with the international law and also with
the sanctions system here, the sanctions regime in the united states. so, we are taking everything in consideration. we have very strong relationship with the united states and we have also a relationship with other countries, but nothing yet in terms of signing a deal or not. >> i do think there's a degree of a kind of a concern, certainly, in washington about president putin's own intentions in the region which don't, frankly, always align with what the united states would like to do and also kind of-- and other gulf allies, like how-- in terms of building regional cooperation, address issues like syria and others. and i mentioned there are quite a number of differences between doha and damascus and moscow on other issues. so it does not create an environment where--
>> as long as the conflicts in the region continuing, everybody will have an interest in the region and everybody will have its own interest, and that's why we need a call for a genuine security dialog between the front countries and the front 0 forces in the region. let us reach an understanding that keeping the other interests aside and keeping the interest of the people. we are just going to think about which country is going to influence which country, we will never achieve any results. >> open to questions for-- yes. >> [inaudible] >> i'm gardner harris from the new york times. you seem to be having a moment in washington d.c. right now with the trump administration, particularly your meetings, two by two meetings this week, lots of positive statements from both tillerson and mattis.
why is that? what-- why have you been able to succeed over the last few months in this spat with your rivals at gcc and do you see the tide turning in washington in your favor? >> thank you. first of all, our relation and our partnership with the united states has been always very strong and strategic partnership. and we see that we don't consider what we have achieved now with the united states as something directed to our gulf neighbors or to-- it is a winning situation in the gulf crisis or a-- we see that everybody is a loser from this crisis. we see that there is no winner. our people they lost a lot from
this, from what we call a needless crisis. what we have, we have throughout the partnership based on trust, based on transparency. we have been a strong' lie with the united states and the u.s. is recognizing this alliance and upgrading it to a higher level, which is strategic level we have right now. and we are using this effort here as a platform to contradict all of-- one coordinated, and we are trying to innovate this and try to identify this cooperation. >> yeah. >> good morning.
the gulf institute. my question is about oman. the fact that oman and kuwait, mostly oman has been basically taking a neutral role in this conflict and oman is facing some issue with employment. are you planning to invest in oman? you have a lot of investments around the world. is oman one of your places where it's a very nice investment area, so, is that something that you're thinking of in terms of helping oman with its economic issues as well? >> oman, we have very strong relationship with oman and we have already a well-established investment there and this investment is continuing and growing. we have an investment in the states, we have investment in the infrastructure, and we have investment in manufacturing and also now we have investment, a joint investment with italy in the energy sector there in oman. so, our investments plan there is not something that is
considered a big portion of our investment, and also, our plans in the future is to expand. >> in the back. >> thank you so much, josh rogin, washington post, thank you for your time today. according to the readout of president trump's recent call with your amir, the white house said the president thanked the amir for action to counterterrorism and extremism in all forms, including being one of the few countries to move forward on a bilateral memorandum of understanding. as you know, there have been some criticism from the u.s. congress, both parties, actually, about this memorandum of understanding. they, congress allege that's not tough enough and they also criticize the fact that it's been held in secret. they question whether or not your country has actually taken
steps to combat. can you tell us about accepts you've taken and comment whether or not you believe this memorandum of understanding should remain secret? thank you. >> the-- the memorandum is something related to the u.s. government and nonwhat the relationship between the executive are and others are but from my meetings with some of the congressmen, i had to know that they also-- they have seen the memorandum and there are some-- some of them they report to them what is the progress on it. for us, as i just mentioned to andrew here, that the memorandum is an ongoing process and it's something which is-- came out as a result of the meeting between the u.s., united states and the gcc.
and not only qatar is the country which obliged to sign such an mou, but all other countries are obliged to do the same. how tough or it's easy or enough or it's not enough, is all the u.s., they are confirming and recognizing therefore, and the partnership that the u.s. have with qatar in counterterrorism financing. we don't want to be caught by the propaganda created from outside, for regional purposes and they are trying to just to fuel it here and for that regional purpose, but to affect the national interest of the united states. we have seen that this propaganda war is fueled by entities which are considered opponents ap they're trying to
use the means here just to change this image of qatar and create this kind of misperception. our role is reaching out to the people, reaching out to the congress and clarifying for them this situation. i thought it has been cooperative and helpful ally for the united states for the last decade. it's not something -- and the u.s. government knows this and recognize this. >> yes. >> thank you. the newspaper israel. there's been a recent wave of jewish american leaders with the amir and qatar and each and every one of them after the meetings said they asked the qatar to change the coverage of the al-jazeera's coverage of
this issue. has there been indicated a change in coverage of al-jazeera of this issue? >> regarding the visits from different parties coming to qatar and visiting us, we don't distinguish between religion, background or ethnicity background. all of them they are welcomed and we are having a good relationship with them. and qatar and other institutions, it's clear that the government should not interfere in the media, but al-jazeera should comply with the international standards and code of conduct and there are a clear mechanism if there's anyone complaining about al-jazeera coverage that the promoting the speech or inciting, they can go and file these complaints in different bodies which are governing the media, and he will get-- he will get a just result out
of it. in fact, we have-- there are some complaints being filed against al-jazeera and in the united kingdom and that they followed the standard. we are not questioning the content of al-jazeera. we're questioning al-jazeera through a clear mechanism. >> yes. >> thank you. from kurdistan tv. what do you think of turkey's operation and what is your opinion about the peshmerga role in the fight against isis and terrorism? thank you. >> peshmerga played a vital role in the fight against isis and terrorism in iraq and we see that they have good soldiers who are fighting terrorism and they are committed to the security of their country, but also, we
need to look at turkey security also, a national security issue which is affected by some of the movement which is affecting directly the security of turkey. and qatar supporting any country which will take care of-- to protect their own national security. what's happening, it's done by coordination with the other forces there, with the other allies, and they are trying to protect their borders and i think that this is the right of any country to protect its borders. >> yes. >> thank you. i'm mike hall, john hopkins university school of advanced international studies. it seems to me that the central point of your talk today was qatar's strong stance against terrorism. can we take that to mean that you unequivocally oppose all
non-state groups that espouse terrorism and actively carry out terrorism in pursuit of their goals, such as hezbollah or other groups in your region? >> we doe denounce any non-state actor to commits terrorism against civilians. and this is very clear policy for us. we don't distinguish between those of non-state actors, whether they're sunni, shia, muslim, non-muslim. for us we judge the acts, we judge the behavior. we don't judge the background of the people. >> thank you. phillip from the atlantic council. the blockade had an impact on the economy of qatar and come at a time also of slumping gas prices and the result is three years of deficit and at the
same time, i mean, the dauphin pipeline stays open, the economy is set to grow next year. my question is, how sustainable from an economic point of view is the current status of the blockade or is it a ticking clock? are there any specific measures of escalation or tightening of screws that you could see that might impact that clock in terms of the-- yeah, the sustainability of the economy? thanks. >> well, regarding our-- the resilience of our economy, the country can survive with the current resources. we are blessed with national resources, but also, we are having a good management for those resources. and the blockade, when it has an impact on the economic situation, has the shock impact, which is the first few days or a few weeks from the
middle they have taken. but the problem doesn't lie there. it lies where the other countries, the blockading states tried to-- and to create the markets, to crea create-- fake news and fake stories about the economic situation, trying to create this propaganda in order for the economy. and those factors by international law and for undermining the world economic order, but these things, these are the sort of things which can have-- we are resisting, but like disturbing ongoing factor, what -- we are seeking for that, everybody just stay away on his own way until they reach to-- a way forward for a solution. and we don't see that there is
any risk of aggression. the only thing we see, the only provocation we see is the-- >> thank you. i'm with al-jazeera television and i say it proudly. well, let me ask you this in english, and you're free to answer whether it's in arabic or english. why is it that qatar has not until now officially announced who was behind the hacking of the qatar news agency that caused the whole crisis? >> well, it's a legal process. i'm not aware exactly where they have broached in the process, but until now we can't disclose the information who
>> they will build their political association based on national identity, not based unfortunately i'm what we are seeing right now with kurds and as disease. we don't like to interfere having qatar policy and we encourage everyone to come along. we talked to different politicians to have united on a lawn with a common interest to be undermined and used it together for a better future. but just refueling i don't think
[inaudible conversations] >> more from the middle east monitor this morning. french president emanuel macron reiterated president trump's decision with jerusalem as the capital and cannot be achieved through unilateral decisions. the shows to tunisia yesterday. president macron told the newspaper today we're waiting for president trump's peace plan to assess based on compatibility with the international in based on what is acceptable with israelis and palestinians on the other hand. read more at middle east monitor.com. coming up in about an hour, admiral john richardson can achieve of operation name