tv Qatari Ambassador Speaks About Gulf Region Tensions CSPAN July 31, 2017 12:24am-1:35am EDT
up a half of the council i welcome you to tonight's ambassador series. we are delighted, we have eight of our board members here tonight. we think them for their service. without you, these programs would not be taking place. thank you all, very much. many thanks to our strategic partners at the ronald reagan building and international trade center for their wonderful hospitality, and providing us with this beautiful venue to hold our public programs. if the earlybird gets the first worm, than those that got here early tonight got the first 120 seats.
we have another 8000 people downstairs in a spillover room who are watching tonight's broadcast on a large screen. we are also very fortunate tonight that our events are being filmed for nationwide to should be should on our own television show "world affairs today," which airs at 3:00 p.m. today. they are on youtube, facebook, linkedin, twitter, and other digital platforms. in addition, tonight's program is being live streamed to a u.s. and global audience and will be immediately available on youtube/ it will also be broadcasted by -- thank you to the ceo of the national press club for providing us with his live streaming services tonight. our event tonight focuses on the state of qatar. its relationship with the united states, and the role it plays in the persian gulf region. and the nations activities as a member of the gulf cooperation council.
qatar has been ruled by the honey family since the mid-19th century. the flag of qatar contains nine serrated edges that separate the colored and the white portions. they signify qatar's inclusion as the ninth member of the reconcile emirates of the persian gulf at the conclusion of the qatari/british treaty in 1916. the colored portion of the flag, known as the qatar maroon, acknowledgment is the island's production of purple dye. the white symbolizes peace. originally known for being a backwater -- who was known for diving, qatar made itself known to the world when it declared independence in 1971. on centralized its economy relied on oil and natural gas production.
in 1990 five qatar announced the series of sweeping economic and political reforms. this included the funding and the founding of the pan arab's satellite news network, al jazeera in 1996, a broadcast worldwide. in economic surplus enabled qatar to rebrand qatar airways and support the education city. it recognize state-of-the-art academic oasis. it hosts schools from the united states, britain, france and qatar. this includes our friends at georgetown university, texas a&m, carnegie mellon, cornell, virginia commonwealth, northwestern university, and ucl london. in terms of transparency, which
we are very big on at the council, we should inform you that we have had a long and valued relationship with the state of qatar during the 38 years since our founding. the qatar foundation, both the recipient of our 2014 global education award that was accepted on behalf of the foundation. the ambassadors of qatar have participated in our embassy series and ambassador programs, and support it our annual global education gala. qatar's population is, question, anybody know? you just googled it, out of bounds.
it is 2 million people. at of that number, 11% are native qataris. 88.4% are non-qataris. bilateral relations between the united states and qatar are strong. they host the u.s. military central command. they have 11,000 americans deployed in qatar. they actively deployed operations against the islamic state.
the united states serves as qatar's largest foreign investor. these include aircraft, machinery, vehicles, medical instruments and agricultural products. qatar is an active member of the u.n., world bank and counsel. it has also been selected to host the 2022 fifa world cup. [applause] >> now to our distinguished guest. his excellency sheikh meshal bin hamad al thani is a career credential. ambassador has previously served for three years as the ambassador to france. he has also served as qatar's permanent representative to the u.n.. he has to her the qatari mission
to the eu in brussels and served as qatari official liaison to nato. he is a graduate of of american university. received his master's degree in international relations in 2004. tonight, please to introduce another friend to our world affairs council, family, ledger, managing editor of usa today as our discussant for this evening. donna has served as both an editor and reporter for breaking news. her assignments have covered everything from domestic and international crimes. the war on terror national disaster. donna is a past president of the national press club. previously served as chairman of the board of governors. she serves on the board of visitors for the university of north carolina. also on the board of the national press foundation where we served together.
a graduate of the university of north carolina chapel hill. she has completed journalistic law through -- school at loyola university. malone -- miller fellowship and the casey fellowships at the university of maryland. we are deeply honored to welcome ambassador of bonnie to the d.c. 2017m as part of our ambassador series. [applause] [indiscernible] >> good evening ladies and gentlemen. before i begin i would like to
thank tony and the remarkable council for doing a andof organizing this event for their unwavering commitment to education and providing a platform for open dialogue. ladies and gentlemen, if you have been following the news from the region i'm sure you're well aware that qatar is under a blockade. saudi arabia and the united emirates into bahrain have imposed a illegal political economic and social blockade against my country. this country decided overnight to close down all borders and airspace. stop the flow of food and medicine during the holy month of ramadan. expel all citizens from their country. these, serve enough for them.
they forcefully recall their citizens from qatar, caring families apart. mothers from their children and wives from their husbands. silencing the people from speaking out from their actions, they have imposed laws that threaten people. saudi arabia, the uae and migraine are toying with the lives of thousands of evil. -- people. i'm sure you're wondering what instigated these illegal actions. individualsan when in the united arab emirates decided to launch a cyber attack against qatar news agencies. a fabricated statement was after giving" to his
highness. the fabricated statement was broadcast on news outlets even after the retraction and statement declaring the news false. it is also crucial to note that the media was blocked in these countries hours before but the .yber attack making sure people could not access the truth. it was used to justify their illegal and in human blockade against the people of qatar. the main questions i've been asked since the beginning of this crisis is why. such extreme taken measures to silence qatar? the countries have never revealed the true intentions behind these actions. they have never chaired any of their concerns with us.
nor given us a chance to address any problems they may have. three weeks after enforcing their unwanted blockade and only after pressure from the united states to be blockading countries submit to a list of so-called demands. they were not reasonable and actionable as the united states as hoped. instead these demands would have forced qatar to curtail free speech. free press and handover individuals to be tortured. but his defense capabilities. disregard and go against international law. outsource and submit foreign policy to abu dhabi. find an open check to the blockading countries to what they described as compensation. pay toe demanding qatar
get them out from losses they insured due to their failed policies to what these countries are demanding is surrender of our sovereignty as the price of ending the siege. i went to draw your attention to what i believe are the 2 -- the true notions. statement two weeks ago, we have been patient for 21 years with a country that is smaller than a neighborhood. ago thatened 20 years has tried their patients for so long? that qatar began its transformation. it is when we decided to focus on development. knowledge-based economy.
when they created al jazeera is a platform, it is when we introduce social and legal reform. it is when we empower women. it is when we decided that our foreign policy should focus on mediation rather than confrontation and a solution to the challenges facing our region. said, theren has are few things that are harder to put up with then the annoyance of a good example. it is one thing that the transformation in qatar will use a threat to certain governments. a woman can drive but in saudi she cannot. distract from their own
shortcomings, they have accused to qatar of supporting terrorists. these unsubstantiated actions are just a smokescreen related to -- created to infringe upon the independents. our international partners know qatar is relentless in its fight. will continue to be steadfast partners to the united states in combating this threat with our troops working hand in hand in the fight against isis. our efforts have not gone unrecognized. the state department emphasizes that the united states and qatar maintain a strong partnership in the fight against terrorism. after signing with the united and disabling finance flows, they placed qatar for being the first to respond to president trump's challenge to
stop the funding of terrorist. terrorism is just as much of a threat to qatar as it is the united states and every other nation. to fighthy our resolve this thread is unwavering. terrorists are made. they are not born. that is why we have developed a holistic approach to combat terrorism. that is why we have combated extremism. -- base, moree importantly education. a educational hub in qatar from georgetown university to northwestern university that spread american values, we are combating the root cause of terrorism. hopelessness and like of education and opportunity. thatries should remember when they join, when they point
the finger at qatar, three fingers are pointing back to them. these countries accuse us of supporting terrorism and yet it was saudi, taurasi, and egyptian citizens might terrorist attacks. scrutinized by the international community for the spreading of extremism. it is the uae have been listed as a country of primary concern and the state department money laundering and financial crimes report. yetabilizing the region and -- brutal attack on yemen, 17 million to be on the verge of starvation. it is the uae not qatar the international community has been critical of. libya andbilizing
violations of the international arms embargo. it is egypt who has abused its current status to put a hold on the u.s. requests. they have made any act opposing their status quo terrorism. a woman driving a car in saudi arabia is time. an individual for social reform is a terrorist. they have work that needs to be done to counter terrorism and extremism in the region. resolvedis will not be by suppressing the media and opposing viewpoints. concernse must put our on the table and have an open and factual discussion about the issues affecting our region. unfortunately the blockading countries have yet to show any genuine will for a dialogue. let me tell you what it the consequences of this blockade
against qatar. it has undermined the fight against terrorism and derailed our efforts. it has torn families of parts and silenced voices. blockadeto hopes, the has also made qatar stronger, resilient, and more united. it has helped us diversify our economy and forge new partnerships. thank you again for giving me and i look forward to answering any questions you may have . [applause] >> i will start off with a few questions and then we will take
questions from the audience to i the reasonsart with behind the blockade. you have said -- it sounded you think that the separate attack and the remark was pretense. that was not what was behind us. you think it was the reforms. again, that was 21 years ago. these reforms have been underway for a long time. what do you think really prompted this reaction? why now? >> thank you for this question. mentioned in my speech earlier, this was an attempt from me personally to try to understand the motives behind this aggression against qatar. the only example i was given was
by the ambassador in jordan. i try to understand where they are coming from you this resentment that has been there for 20 years. what happened last month is obviously something has been planned for some time. summit,been part of the we have signed on counterterrorism. countries have raised concerns with us. when i tried to talk about is to analyze from their speeches for exactly that motivation is. it could be also that qatar is a policy thatote is based on mediation and mutual
understanding versus a policy of confrontation. us anythey did not give clear answer for why they did that. aboute you thought possible economic motivation? your natural gas deal with iran which may be a threat to saudi arabia. useful to give a background of information on what you just mentioned. is inlationship with iran line with the council. in fact, uae has more relations than we do. 6.7% of the trade is with uae. is wee have with iran share natural gas fields.
25-30% of the energy going out in the world is coming from -- normally we need to have lines of communication to understand this relationship should be dealt with. i don't think that has anything to do with the relationship with iran and qatar. ,hey have 80 flights per week again, they have more investments with them than they do. i can understand that iran as part of this issue. >> you mentioned this field, this blockade is undermining what the world thinks of the gulf nations. tarnishing the image. youy on in this conflict wrote an op-ed in the wall street journal and you have
repeated some of your remarks today. you mentioned the uae and saudi arabia's role in 9/11. tomorrow the united arab emirates will respond with the documentary that accuses qatar of fostering terrorism. this back and forth tarnishing of images. it takes to to tango. to keep going back and forth and tarnishing one another. what point does qatar have a responsibility to try to put an end to it by cutting off its , and is there a way you can stop the public feud? >> first of all, i was just stating facts. i am not trying to tarnish any country's image. raised artifacts.
is coming up with a piece on 9/11. a country already initiated a cyber attack. they posted a fabricated story. we need to think twice of anything coming from their. again, the whole crisis that erupted in the gulf is based on a fabricated story. side is a from their story. >> if you keep coming back and forth how does attend -- it end >> what is your role is not to provoke them? >> i was just answering to an article written by the uae
ambassador trying to portray qatar as a terrorist country. financial to terrorists. i wanted to point what exactly what the facts are. he shouldtates that think twice before accusing people of such a crime. >> you have explained to us qatar's russian ship with iran. can you explain about qatar's relationship with turkey which has also seemed to wrinkles the other countries? >> is very strong relation has the other countries do have strong relation. we have the gcc turkey strategic dialogue. it is in the context of gcc but
also we have a great relation with turkey. a nato member. that is the context of the relations. >> why do you think the relationship with nato bothers the uae and saudi arabia and egypt and bahrain? ?-->> maybe this is a question for them to answer. >> you have had a whole range of diplomats coming to try to .ediate from europe secretary tillerson most recently erdogan. it has not been working out i suppose. what have even talking about? tell us about the negotiations in order the biggest sticking points? >> we are trying to be as constructive as possible and approach this with a very mature
way. we are asking the countries to come and sit on the table and discuss differences. so far they have not been receptive. made our dress -- our best to which were demands very difficult for anyone to accept. to ensure the goodwill of qatar we have point by point. unfortunately they dismissed him to asko area we continue the mediators to try to find a way to sit on the table and discuss grievances. >> what is the next step?
>> the next step is in their hands. we have clearly said his highness addressed the people a couple of days ago. he stated in his address that we discussing to sit and based on factual dialogue. we look forward for them to engage with kuwait, with the united states in order to discuss the differences. actually, the russian foreign minister sergey lavrov said he would be willing do diplomatic influence -- interference. they want to have this conflict resolved as soon as possible because this is counterproductive for everyone. fight against terrorism we have to focus on and this is distracting everyone. unnecessary is
aggression against my country. i think not only russia is trying to help -- europe is also trying to help you france's trying to help create germany is trying to help. help to bring the country's to the table to discuss our differences. cracks in the most recent state department the u.s. concluded that qatar does have a strong partnership in the fight against terrorism. you passed many laws, you work -- gone to many groups. the one point that some of the countries have raised is the support of the muslim brotherhood which is something qatar's been part of policy for many years. can you first of all explained to us how you see the muslim brotherhood and why you think alliances had a problem?
>> it is not an alliance. it is good to do background information. this is a perception that has uae created about qatar by and saudi arabia. the we are supporting brotherhood. .e try to support institutions i will give you a great example. with indonesiad when there was a component in the government. there is a more liberal
governments. our support is not to parties, it is for the countries. the endrt people but at of the day we are dealing with government. >> tell us about al jazeera. what you see is al jazeera's mission. what do you think that saudi --bia and egypt and train bahrain five threatening about al jazeera? that whatcan tell you we have decided to have is to promote free media and free press. that is what we have embarked on since 1996.
they don't look at the issues we are having in local media. there are programs that also ofe a great freedom maneuvering and expression. that is where we stand on the issue of free media and expression of speech. what i think they are afraid of being criticized. is tok what they want have the truth come out. like ap't want stories regarding torture in yemen. >> i think i'm going to have to challenge you a little bit on press freedom. freedom house every year takes a look at the countries around the qatarand has given
mediocre-to-low marks on press freedom. there was some legislation that was proposed and has been through many councils that would broaden press freedom. some of the issues include outplaying criticism of the ruling family. of the government. of islam. that is really not what i would consider to be complete freedom. mr. al-thani: i did not say we have a complete -- but we are on the right track, and we are working in the right direction. -- interviews. many years to reach here. >> we are still litigating. >> [laughter] mr. al-thani: we are also trying
to enhance ourselves. but i think what matters, we are on the right path. -- weare always welcome always welcome advice and support from freedom house or any organization to fix our own progress. >> and where would you say qatar is in relation to other gulf countries when it comes to both women's rights and press freedom? mr. al-thani: if i tell you, i'm going to be looked at as biased. >> [laughter] it is your chance. mr. al-thani: i think we've reached good levels of development on this level. again, women in qatar are free to determine their own lives. that is very important. i think we still need to do more work, but we are determined to do it. we continue to work to enhance
our legislations, to progress our society. >> ok. moving away from press freedom for a second, i want to go back to the blockade. can you tell me a little bit about what the humanitarian situation is? sheik didhat the address the people of qatar. suffering,s are they and what ways are you working around the blockade? mr. al-thani: the most critical aspect of this blockade is the humanitarian aspect. so we have around 13,000 complaints, separation of families. there is a lot of intermarriages between the countries. unfortunately, with the latest laws that have enacted, women who are from qatar and living with their husbands and children
in the uae have to leave the uae. we have some cases where kids are separated from their moms. we have cases where fathers are separated from their families. i think what we are in qatar trying to focus on on a primary objective is to find relief for this humanitarian crisis. >> and where has helped come from so far -- help come from so far? have you gotten any food assistance? mr. al-thani: yes, we have gotten a lot of support from and we areountries, adapting, and we are moving in the right direction. >> ok. and how long do you think qatar can sustain itself in this current state? we canthani: again,
sustain this forever, but that is not our objective. our objective is to resolve it. to resolve this crisis. emphasize the importance of the gulf corporation counsel. this is a very important entity, in the arab world. want to happen. we want to resolve this problem. we cannot resolve this problem if they are not coming to the table. we're asking them to come to the table, put their grievances on the table, let's discuss, and if there's anything based on facts, we will deal with it. >> so turkey has moved some troops to doha. anytime anyone moves troops anywhere, everybody thinks, what are the chance that this could become a military conflict? is that even something you are worried about right now? is it something you are considering? mr. al-thani: i am not worried about that. >> so what do you see is the
reason for turkey moving these -- as the reason for turkey moving these troops? mr. al-thani: the presence of turkey and qatar is part of a military corporation agreement. again, turkey is a nato country. cooperation, and that is part of the agreement. by the way, that agreement was way before this happened. >> ok. so it is not -- you don't anticipate -- i know there is a limit on the number of troops can come from turkey, and there are a limit on the -- of the number of troops that can come from the u.s. do you anticipate raising that limit any point? mr. al-thani: there is no need for us to raise any limits. there is no military threat as we speak. qatar is pushing diplomacy for the resolution of the crisis,
and we are not worried about -- >> and you are not worried about the other countries taking military action beyond the blockade? mr. al-thani: we are prepared. i think if that is their intention, qatar is prepared. clearlyave said very that we do not think they want to go that way. >> all right. shall we open this up for some questions from the audience? oh, there are microphones on the side, if you could use those. give us just one second, we have to wait for the cameramen to adjust. feel free to cue often. >> ok. we will start with the gentleman there on the right. if you can state your name and your organization. >> could you just give us one
minute? we have to wait for the cameras to switch up. feel free to queue in the meantime. morewill ask you one question. this is going to be completely off the topic. i have spent some time in qatar. actually, itonths, is a lovely place. you have got this blockade, and this wonderful airline that is not allowed to land now in bahrain and riyadh. so what impact do you see that , and justyour tourism basically -- and also on your workers? many of them come from elsewhere. mr. al-thani: for sure, at the beginning of the crisis, there was sort of a corruption of the flight. but qatar airways has managed to adapt to the situation, and they are so far doing fine.
we're in a very comfortable situation. i think we need to focus on family issues, humanitarian, and that is basically it. hoping with the holy pilgrimage coming up, and we find a solution for our pilgrims who hope to go2net. -- go to mecca. >> is that a negotiation right now? mr. al-thani: we need to find alternatives. >> ok. and have you brought up this issue with saudi arabia and said, this is a religious thing, this is not a political thing? and how did they respond? mr. al-thani: there is not any communication between us. difficult. >> ok.
have you asked intermediaries to bring up the issue for you? mr. al-thani: we are working with the mediators. >> all right. we're ready to go with questions. please remember to state your name and your organization. >> high. -- hi. obviously, cutting diplomatic ties was a shock for all of us throughout the whole world. my question is regarding the gcc. will there be a split between the gcc, or will qatar does end up leaving the gcc regarding all caps -- just end up leaving the gcc regarding all this? mr. al-thani: qatar continue to be an active member of the gcc. believes the gcc is a very important entity in that region. it plays a very important role in the stabilizing of that region.
threat not see any coming to the unity of the gcc. good evening, ambassador. my name is jim moran. todo appreciate you coming join us tonight for a very clear, articulate, and candid iscussion of an issue that probably on a lot of people's minds who have never heard of qatar, but given the $18 million of attack ads that flood the tv station, we cannot help but be aware that, and we admire qatar's restraint in not responding in kind. i should also say, on this issue, i can respond for the board of the world affairs council. we do not take sides in these traditionally, but we
will always stand on the side of the empowerment of women, ,reater freedom of expression and opting for mediation over conflict. so we appreciate the fact that you have prioritized those issues. one of the things that has been raised by people attacking qatar is the allegation that you are funding hamas. because of the money you are putting into gaza reconstruction. hamas is the elected strip,ent in the gaza but is there not cooperation with the israeli government? doesn't that money have to go through and be coordinated with the israeli government in order to be invested in the reconstruction of gaza? i think there is some misunderstanding in the understanding of the role that
qatar has played. mr. al-thani: thank you for your question. going back to the ads running against qatar, someone told me, i don't know if that is correct, but no publicity is bad publicity. >> [laughter] >> they were wrong, trust me. >> [laughter] >> after 35 years in politics, it is not true. >> [laughter] you forhani: but thank the important question you have raised. it is very important to indicate that qatar's engagement with hamas is in the context of the peace process. we have been asked by the united states during the bush administration to engage with hamas, in order to encourage them to enter the elections, and that is what we have done. being that the united states is an ally to us, we worked with hamas in order to push them in a political process, rather than
violence. that, we all know they won the elections, and a rift happened between hamas and the plo. everyone in the international community agrees that, in order to have a meaningful peace process with the israeli side, reconciliation has to be made during the palestinians. because it is only fair to say that israelis would ask, who do we discussed with? -- discuss with? this is where qatar is engaged with the united states. theengagement is based on documents that were established, and what we are doing is simply making this process. is in thes engagement peace process context. gaza, butorking in
also in the west bank and reconstruction efforts through the gaza reconstruction mechanism that is between the united nations, the plo, and the israeli government. we contribute to this fund. of course, everything is being coordinated with the israeli government, and we have also supervision on the ground to make sure that what we are housing, in terms of ,ospitals, are being delivered and not abused. so that is basically our engagement with them. >> thanks very much, ambassador. >> high. hi. i am a member of the world
affairs council. the question i have is regarding saudi arabia. saudi arabia has a of invading has a history-- of invading its neighbors. bahrain just aed few years ago. , actuallyre knee-deep more than me-deep, and yemen. knee-deep, in yemen. a massive loss of innocent life. so given the confusion in the u.s. policy towards qatar, in the sense that mr. tillerson does not seem to be on the same and onepresident trump, says one thing, the other says something else, aren't you worried that the saudis may do -- especially since the binndance of mohamed
salman, may do something unusual and cause more trouble for your country? mr. al-thani: thank you, sir, for your question. i would like to give you my vision of the u.s. policy. how i understand it. confusion inany the united states policy toward this crisis. it was very clear from the state department that de-escalation is important, that people need to come around the table to discuss their grievances. it is very clear what the u.s. wants. and it is based on the unity of the gcc. i can assure you, no confusion on this matter. we resolve this crisis as quickly as possible, in order to make sure that, again, the countries of the region, the international community, focus on what is really important. fighting terrorism. that is what we need to focus on
. thank you, sir. my name is marcio dyson. georgetown university, founder of women's global initiative. qatartar i know is the that has the medical center. it is the home of the business owner of blue salon. whys, and ite of andso the home of qbic, also the home of seven muslim women who represent the various nationalities of islam, to benefit children who were harmed wa as a peacemakery in. a person engaged in many civil societies, beyond reading your tweets, how
can civil societies outside of governmental agencies, of course, and peacemakers be to savewith your quest the qatar i know, and what tools do you give the societies that i can take back beyond the attempt of re-tweaking your tweets? >> i think she is asking, how can we help you? mr. al-thani: thank you very much for your kind comments about qatar. and the people of qatar. helping.ou are already we appreciate all the support are doing, but also the u.s. people. we have a lot of support coming out. we can see that people are speaking out about how this aggression is unjustified, and we really appreciate that. thank you very much. is ahmed.my name
i am a student at new york university in abu dhabi. my question is, and i need an honest answer -- mr. al-thani: have i not been honest all night? >> [laughter] >> what is your response of qatar hosting people from egypt that had been detained by authorities, who are, for example, involved in the assassination of the president, or who are prominent members of the muslim brotherhood, and they are being now posted in qatar, and what you think of the now,ric used against egypt and the support that was seized if you say qatar supports the egyptian people, but the support has been stopped since 2015. so what your remarks on these issues -- what are your remarks
on these issues? mr. al-thani: that was like 5, 6 questions. >> [laughter] mr. al-thani: your name is ahmed? you, we see egypt is a very important country in the arab world. stability toas a the region. the support of qatar has not , and we have supported awipt since when general hat took power, until president sisi. i can give you an example. this has been translated. hosni took power in egypt, i think everybody
remembers that egypt went through difficult times in terms of energy crisis. it was requested by him to qatar to provide some assistance in this matter. we have submitted and provided egypt five shipments of gas. the last one was received by president sisi. if we have any intention to undermine egypt, we would stop that. but we continued, because our support is for the people of egypt. we continued helping economically egypt through our the $8al assistance, billion we have put as currency for egypt, and we continue keeping that, until the terms that ended in the egyptian government, at that time, asked us not to continue doing that. for al jazeera, you can ask al jazeera, i do not speak on
behalf of out to zero, they can tell you about their coverage, but as for the individuals you are mentioning, i am not sure we have people who are in qatar wanted by the egyptian government. and if you are mentioning individuals running away from prosecutions, unfair prosecutions, and seeking asylum, that is a different discussion. there are international instruments, international laws and regulations, that govern these issues. so that is what i would like to tell you. we will continue to support egypt and every arab country. >> thank you, ambassador. i am an intern at the council on foreign relations. i would like to ask you about the impact of u.s. policy on the current saudi crisis -- atari
crisis. ri crisis. after the blockade was imposed, twittert trump took to and said, quote, "saudi arabia said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to qatar." do you think the changing u.s. security policy at any effect on saudi security calculus in choosing to post this blockade? mr. al-thani: as i mentioned earlier, the u.s. policy is very clear when it comes to the crisis. policy isink u.s. intending to create a crisis in the gulf region. what i believe, there was some
misinformation given to the united states. these countries misled the united states. immediately, quickly, the united states understood that. on howy were very clear this crisis should take an end, and that we need to negotiate, and they underscored the importance of the gcc council as a unity. thank you. nada.name is mike -- i am from bahrain. my question is, how does the current situation within the countries in the region affect qatar's strategy with regard to saudi-led coalition against yemen? according to the u.n., has caused the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. mr. al-thani: just to clarify that, the role of qatar in the
yemen war was subject only to defend the saudi borders. we were not engaged in operations inside. only to defend the saudi borders. right after, the first day of aggression against qatar, they asked us to leave. so we do not have any troops down there. they kicked our troops from their borders. >> so do they take out the troops prior to the decision to cut diplomatic ties? mr. al-thani: on the same day of the aggression, when they went out and said, we cut diplomatic relations, they forced the blockade. they asked the troops to leave. >> ok, we have a few more minutes, so if anyone has any questions, you have a few more minutes to think about them and ask them. in the meantime, i have got
plenty. so we will keep going. if there are any journalists in the room who also want to ask a question, feel free to do so. we will move on to some other things. to ask you a few questions about qatar's economy. crisis, when the you see as qatar's future -- what do you see as qatar's future economic growth areas? where do you see expansion in your initiatives in education, and an energy? -- and in energy? mr. al-thani: our vision 20 $.30 a path to that direction. 2030 cents a path to that direction. the fact that we've invited universities from the u.s. is also not only to help us educate and fight extremist ideology, but also to empower our youth to
become more entrepreneurs, to economy tonsform our a knowledge-based economy, and that we want to diversify our economy. we went to step away from gas and oil. i think this is something, in the long run, is achievable. ons is where we are focusing , to have a knowledge-based economy that will help us diversify our incomes. >> as tony mentioned, you do rely quite a bit on laborers from other countries. how are you working towards full employment for qataris in your country and what you see about -- what you see about -- there have been some allegations that some of the workers are low-paid, they are mistreated.
what kind of labor laws are you looking at? mr. al-thani: first of all, i would like to say we are grateful for experts to come to .atar and help us develop this is something we highly appreciate. it is true that we had challenges in the past regarding labor laws, but that challenge was due to the huge influx of expatriates that came to qatar. we were not able to adapt immediately. however, we have managed to identify the challenges. we worked on them. we have managed to amend and fix around 90 laws. we have expanded our inspection , we have a lot of complete steps on the ground. will we continue to address this issue?
we will continue to work on having a better environment, and protected, andre this is something that will be ongoing for us. with you have any issues what we call brain drain in this country? young qataris coming to the u.s., are going to britain, getting educated, and then not coming back? mr. al-thani: i do not think we do have this, but most of young qatari students do stay for a couple of years. for example, in the united states, or in europe, to gain experience. mentioned, we are only 300,000 qataris, so we need them back there. >> [laughter] >> absolutely. tell me a little bit about your plans for fifa.
mr. al-thani: we are very excited that the world cup is going to be held in arab region. the way we look at that is not only for qatar, but for the middle east. we are having so many conflicts in the middle east that at some point, this can be a sort of -- giving some new help -- hope. sport brings people together. it brings people closer. and that is our objective. we're on track, and we will do our best to host the best world cup. issues that has happened in the past is, israelis have been barred from countries in the middle east for .porting events
there are definitely some religious freedom issues in qatar. how do you plan to deal with that, particularly as athletes and what path do you see towards allowing more religious freedom in qatar, were christians and jews -- for christians and jews? mr. al-thani: there is a great tolerance in qatar for people of other faiths. we have three churches in qatar that expatriates are free to .ractice their religion so there is a big tolerance for other religions. don't forget, we have great respect for christianity and and islam is the third think. that is not going to be -- third faith. >> and what about for israeli athletes? mr. al-thani: it is part of the
united nations. --have posted many games hosted many games, and they were not banned from coming in. so i do not see why they would be banned in the future. >> excellent. thank you very much for your time. we really appreciate your frank and complete answers to all our questions, and for enlightening us on the situation. mr. al-thani: i hope it was useful insights. >> [applause] mr. al-thani: thank you. >> thank you. >> [applause] the world affairs council has a reputation for being an organization where learning happens. i hope you all feel the knowledge shared with you members andh by our
by donna, was well with your time in terms of coming here to be part of our celebration of shared values. one of those is peace. peace is tough. everybody knows that. so thank you all for coming tonight. the ambassador is going to stay for 5, 10 minutes. i would like our board members to come up on the stage. we have some special photographs we would like to have taken the ambassador tonight. the ambassador from nepal, we hope you will join us. thank you so much. >> [applause] >> [crowd chatter] announcer: monday night, on "the communicators," ands the internet group, there were jobs, and money at risk, all of a sudden, hackers started getting jobs doing
security. emails ofting these people telling me, give me an announcement to devcon, and make it sound professional. i have to convince my boss to send me to devcon for my job. so i was rewriting our announcements to try to make them sound more professional, and one of my friends came up and said, you should just throw a real conference, charge real money, and make it a professional conference. i got that was brilliant, and i did not have the money at the time. i think my money for a year, i took a loan out, and then i started black capped the year later the night with. and every year, unbelievably, is growing. announcer: jeff moss, founder and creator of black cap, talks about his conferences security researchers and hackers. emerging threats to cyber security, and how hacking works. it is have to remember, pretty hostile everywhere. it used to be just hostile and black cap, but now every airport seems to
have a fake wi-fi tower. the good that you're going to steal somebody's logins, why not the business lounge and international airport? if you monitor your wi-fi signal when you are traveling, you will see all these faith-based stations, amtrak stations, a fake cell tower outside it. it is just -- this is the way that is. and if you're a criminal and can build a backpack to intercept information and just leave the backpack plug-in somewhere, that is so much more low-risk than trying to rob a bank. announcer: watch "the communicators" monday night on c-span two. now, more on the blockade against qatar and its implications for u.s. foreign-policy. this has for an apparent subcommittee is just under two and half hours. -- this for an apparent subcommittee is just under two and a half hours. >> [crowd chatter]