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tv   Qatari Ambassador Speaks About Gulf Region Tensions  CSPAN  July 31, 2017 2:05pm-3:13pm EDT

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we will keep going. we have a fantastic leader and chief of staff. a great job. thank you very much. >> we will have more from president trump later today on c-span as he is awarded the first medal of honor of his presidency. the ceremony will get underway in about an hour. 3:00 p.m. eastern on the eastern room of the white house. you can watch it live here on c-span. after that, sarah huckabee sanders will be briefing reporters. when it starts, we will have it live here on c-span. >> in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's
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cable television companies. it is brought to you by your cable satellite provider. >> in the middle east come six arab countries have cut ties qatar.tter -- lastly, they spoke about the relations with animators. this is just about an hour. >> bonjour. good evening, ladies and gentlemen. that deserves a round of applause. [applause]
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>> i'm the president of the world affairs council, washington, dc. on behalf 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. -- sunday afternoon.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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 to million people. at of that number, 11% are native qataris. 88.4% are non-qataris. bilateral relations between the
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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.
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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
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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.
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at university of maryland. we are deeply honored to welcome the ambassador to the world asairs council d.c. podium part of the 2017 ambassador series. >> good evening. remarkable, it
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did a next a job of organizing this event. to for unwavering commitment education and providing a platform for open dialogue. if you had been following the news from the region, i am sure -- saudill aware have imposed an illegal political, economic -- against my country. it decided overnight to close down all borders and air spaces. the flow of food and medicine during the holy month of ramadan. these steps are not enough. apart -- theyes
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recall their citizens, tearing families apart, mothers from the children, wives from their husbands. and to silence people from speaking out against the popular -- their kryptonian and unpopular actions, they have imposed laws that threaten people with 15 year jail sentence. this is distressing. saudi arabia, the uae and bahrain are toying with the lives of thousands of people. i'm sure you are wondering what instigated the inhumane and illegal actions. this all began when individuals of the united emirates decided to launch a cyber attack against a qatar news agency. during this attack, a fabricated statement was published. this fabricated statement was broadcasted in saudi and news outlets even after the rejection -- even after qatar's retraction and the statement declaring it was false. it's crucial to note that qatar media was blocked in this country hours before the cyber attack.
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ensuring people cannot access the truth. this carefully orchestrated cyber attack was used to justify their illegal and inhumane work -- blockade against the people of qatar. one of the main questions i have been asking is why, why have the locators -- blockaders taken such measures to silence qatar. unfortunately, the countries have never revealed the true intentions behind these actions. they have never shared their supports and concerns with us nor given us a chance to address problems they may have.
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three weeks after forcing the unwanted blockade and after pressure from the united states and the international community, they submitted the list of so-called demands. the 13 demands were not reasonable or actionable as the united states had hoped. instead these demands would have forced qatar to hand over individuals to be tortured. reduce our defense capabilities. this regard and go against international law. outsource our fallen worldly -- outsource our foreign policy and sign an open check to the countries where they describe as compensation. they are demanding qatar build -- pay compensation to bail them out from losses due to their failed policies. what these countries are demanding is a surrender of our sovereignty at the price of
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defending the siege. i like to draw your attention to what i believe are the true motives behind this aggression. in a statement the saudi ambassador to jordan said two weeks ago, we have been patient, we have been patient for 21 years with a country that is smaller than a neighborhood. what happened 20 years ago that has tried the patience for so long. it was in 1996 that they began that that qatar began -- that qatar began its transformation. this when we decided to focus on development by investing in our own people in building a knowledge-based economy. we abolished censorship and
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created al jazeera as a platform for free media and free speech. it is when we introduce social and political reform. it is quickly empowered women, it is when we decided for policy should focus on mediation rather than confrontation as a solution to challenges facing our region. as mark twain has said, there are few things harder to put up with that the annoyance of a good example. it is worth highlighting the transformation were effective as -- it is worth highlighting the transformation in qatar was confusing to certain government. a saudi woman cannot understand why a country with a similar social background, qatar, with lincoln drive but in saudi she cannot -- women can drive, but in saudi she cannot. so aside from the shortcomings they have accused us of terrorism.
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these unsubstantiated actions are just a smokescreen created to infringe upon the sovereignty and independence. our international partners know that qatar is relentless in its fight against terrorism. we will be a steadfast partner to the united states in combating this problem in the fight against isis. our efforts have not gone unrecognized. the state department reports that the united states and qatar maintain a strong partnership in the fight against terrorism. after signing in mou with united states eight -- within aim of establishing a disabling finance , secretary tillerson was the first to respond to the challenge to stop terrorism. it's just as much of a threat to qatar and every other nation and that is why our resolve to fight
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this threat is unwavering. terrorist are made, not born. that is why we have developed a holistic approach to combat terrorism and that is why we have two american bases in qatar. a military base which everyone is familiar with, but more importantly, an education base. by creating an education hub in qatar that includes some of the best american institutions from georgetown university to northwestern university the spread american values we are combating the root causes of terrorism, hopelessness and lack of education. the blockading countries should remember that when they join and pointed the finger at qatar, three fingers are pointing back to them.
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these countries accuse us of supporting terrorism yet it was saudi citizens behind 9/11 attacks. a saudi who has been scrutinized by the international community. for the spreading of extremism. it is the uae listed as the state department as a country of primary concern and state that primary concern for the state department money laundering and financial crimes report. the destabilizing the region that a society whose under increased international and u.s. condemnation for their attack on human -- on yemen, causing 70 million to be on the point of starvation. for their destabilizing role in libya. it is egypt who has abused their current status from the u.s. security council to put a hold on the u.s. request to add u.s. saudi arabia to the u.s. sanctions list.
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what these countries have done is made any act supporting their status quo terrorism. a woman driving a car in saudi arabia is tried in the terrace court. that's the terrorists court. individuals calling for social reform in the uae is a social terrorists. this is the work that needs to be done for counterterrorism in the region. the crisis will not be resolved by suppressing media and opposing viewpoints. instead we must all of our concerns on the table and have it has and factual discussion about the issues affecting our region. unfortunately the blockaded country have refused to show any genuine want for dialogue. blockade has tarnished the eyes of all the countries in the
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middle east. it has undermined the fight against terrorism. it has torn families apart and silenced voices. the blockade 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 this platform to share my humble views of this ongoing crisis. >> ok, i guess i will start off with a few questions and then we will take questions from the audience. the reasons behind the blockade,
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you have said that you think the cyber attack and the remarks -- you think it was the reforms. that was 21 years ago, these reforms have been underway for a long time. when you think really prompted this reaction, immediate reaction? why now? >> thank you very much for this question. as i mentioned in my speech, this was an attempt from me personally to try to understand the motive behind this. the only example given was by the saudi ambassador in jordan to try to understand where they are coming from. the resentment that has been there for 20 years.
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what happened last month is obviously something had been planned for some time. we were part of the summit and it was a successful summit. we signed on the establishment of counterterrorism centers. none of the countries at the summit raised any concern with us. we were still puzzled on the motivations, but i tried to talk about this, to analyze from their speeches what exactly was going on. it could be that qatar is trying to promote a policy based on mediation and mutual understanding versus a policy of confrontation.
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that does not give us any clear answers for why. >> have to thought at all about possible economic motivations. -- have you thought about possible economic motivations? for example natural gas deal with iran which may be a threat to saudi arabia. >> maybe it is useful to give a background of information on what you just mentioned. the relation with iran and line of the gulf cooperation council, in fact the uae has more relations with iran than we do. once we have as a relation with iran is we share natural gas fields. 25-30% of the energy going to 25-30% of the energy going to the world is coming from there. we need to have more mediation with iran to understand how they
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relationship should be dealt with. i don't think that has anything iran'sith iran relationship and qatar. 18 clicks a week to go to tehran. they have more investments with them than we do. isannot understand that iran part of the issue. >> you mentioned this feud, this bloackade is undermining what the world thinks of the gulf nation, that it is tarnishing the image. early on in this conflict, you 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 roles in 9/11.
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tomorrow, the uae is going to respond with a documentary that accuses qatar of fostering terrorism. again, this back and forth, this tarnishing of images. it takes two to tango or in this case five countries to keep going back and forth and tarnishing one another. at what point does qatar have a responsibility to put an end to it by cutting off its remarks and is there a way you can stop the feud? >> first of all, i was just stating facts. in my wall street journal. i'm not trying to tarnish any country's image. again, what i have raised our facts.
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you mentioned, the uae is coming out with a piece on 9/11, a country that already initiated a cyber attack. some individuals there initiated a cyber attack against qatar. a fabricated story. we need to think twice about anything coming from there. the whole crisis that erupted in the gulf is based on fabricated stories, so everything coming from their side maybe is not a legitimate story. >> if you keep going back and fourth, how does it end? what was the motivation in bringing up the role in 9/11 if not to provoke them? i was just answering to an article written by the uae portrayor trying to qatar as a terrorist harbor
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financial toorts terrorists. i just wanted to remind him exactly what the facts are, what is the truth and just to state that he should think twice before accusing people. explained to us the relationship with iran can you explain a little bit about the relationship with turkey which also seems to rank with the other four countries. >> the relation with the turkey is a very strong relation. as other countries in the gcc have a strong relation, too. we have strategic dialogue so this relationship is in the context of gcc but we have a great and strong relationship,
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bilateral with turkey. they are a nato member. we have close coordination. that is the context of our relation. >> why do you think that relationship with nato bothers the uae and saudi arabia and egypt and bahrain? >> i really don't know. maybe this is a question for them to answer. >> ok. so, you've have had a whole range of diplomats coming to try to mediate some diplomats from europe, secretary tillerson, most recently, president erdogan. it hasn't been working out, i suppose. tell us about the negotiations and what are the biggest sticking points? >> so far we have been trying as qatar to be constructive, approach this with a very mature way. countriesing the four
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to sit on the table and discuss their grievances. unfortunately, they have not been receptive. we've done our best to address which wereed demand very difficult for anyone to accept, but just to show the goodwill of qatar, we have addressed them point by point. unfortunately, they dismiss them in cairo, in their meeting. we continue to ask the mediators, the state of kuwait to find an alternative and we discuss our grievances. >> what do you think is the next step? >> the next step is in their hands. again, we have clearly said, his
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highness addressed the qatari people and he stated in his address that we are willing to sit and discuss. based on open and factual dialogue. we will look forward for them to engage with kuwait, with the united states to sit down and discuss our differences. >> the other day in an interview yesterday, the russian foreign minister, sergey lavrov, said he would be willing to come doha and haved -- some diplomatic interference. is that something that qatar would welcome? >> qatar wants to have this conflict resolved as soon as possible. this is counterproductive for everyone. we have to fight against terrorism that we need to focus on and this is affecting everyone. this was an unnecessary provoke aggression against my country. not only russia is trying to help, but europe is trying to
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help, france, germany. qatar welcomes any support that brings the countries to the table. >> in the most recent state department report, the u.s. concluded that qatar as a strong partnership in the fight against terrorism. you have passed many laws, you belong to many working groups but the one sticking point many of the countries raise is the support by qatar of the muslim brotherhood which is something that has been part of qatar's policy for many years. can you first of all explain to us how you see the muslim brotherhood and why you think that alliance is not a problem? >> first of all, it is not an alliance. maybe it is good to do some
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background information for the audience. this is a perception that has been created about qatar by the uae and saudi arabia that we are supporting the muslim brotherhood. qatar works with governments, not parties. our support goes to the people of the country, we try to support institutions in the country's. i can give you a great example of our experience with tunisia. qatar has worked with tunisia when there was a component of the muslim brotherhood in the government. today, qatar continues to work with the liberal government. our commitment, our support is not for parties,
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we support people. at the end of the day we are dealing with governments. >> tell us a bit about al jazeera and what you see about the mission. what do you think that saudi arabia and egypt and bahrain find threatening abou jazeera? i think al jazeera can speak for itself, but i think what we had decided to have in qatar is to promote free media, free press. that is what we have, in part, since 1996. a lot of people focus on al jazeera because it has its and quarters in doha, but they don't also look at the issues we are having in our local media.
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there are some programs that have a great freedom of maneuver and expression. so that is where we stand on the issue of free media and free expression. i think what they are afraid of is, they are afraid of being criticized. want to not have the truth come out. they don't want stories like a story that came out in ap regarding torture in yemen. that is what they want to suppress, i believe. >> i think i will have to challenge you a bit on press freedom. freedom house takes a look at the countries around the world and has given qatar mediocre to low marks on the press freedom. there was some legislation that
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was proposed in many councils. the sheik has not signed it yet, it would broaden press freedom. some of the issues include outlying criticism of the ruling family, of the government and islam, so that's not what i consider to be complete press freedom. where do you think qatar still needs to go? >> it is true, i didn't say that it is complete but i can tell you we are on the right track and working in the right direction. you and the u.s. have not reached where you are in 20 years, it took many years to get to hear. also trying to grow and help ourselves.
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what matters is we are on the right path. we always welcome advice and support from freedom house for or any organization to fix our progress. >> where would you say qatar is in relation to other gulf countries when it comes to both women's rights and press freedoms? >> if i tell you i'm going to look biased. >> [laughter] it is your chance. >> i think we have reached a good level of development. 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 will continue to work to enhance our legislations, to progress our society. >> moving away from the press
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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? you said the sheik did address the people of qatar. in what ways are they suffering and what ways are you working around the blockade? >> the most critical aspect of this blockade is the humanitarian aspect. we have around 30,000 complaints , separation of families. there is a lot of intermarriages between the countries. unfortunately, with the latest enacted, women from qatar living with their husbands in the uae have to leave the uae. we have some cases where kids are separated from their moms.
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we had cases where fathers are separated from their families. i think that we are trying to on a primaryatar objective is to find relief for this humanitarian crisis. >> and where has the health come from the far -- help come from so far? >> in terms of the humanitarian? >> have you gotten any food assistance? >> yes, we have gotten a lot of support from some arab countries and from partners internationally. we are adapting, we are moving in the right direction. >> how long do you think qatar can sustain itself in this current state? >> again, we can sustain this forever but that is not our objective. our objective is to resolve this crisis.
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emphasize the importance on the cooperation of the gulf cooperation council. this is a very important entity in the arab world. this is what we want to happen, resolve this problem. we cannot resolve this problem if they do not come to the table. we are asking them to come to the table to leave their grievances and let's discuss. if there is anything based on fact we will deal with it. >> so turkey has moved some .roops to doha any time anybody moves troops somewhere, what are the chances this could become a military conflict? is that even something that you are worried about right now or something that you are considering? >> i'm not worried about that. >> what do you see as the reason for turkey moving these troops? >> the presence of turkey in
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qatar is part of the military cooperation agreement, in the larger context -- again, turkey is a nato country. ishave cooperation, and that part of the agreement. by the way, that agreement was way before this happened. >> so you don't anticipate. i know there's a limit on the number of troops that can come from turkey, as there is a limit on a number of troops coming from the u.s. do you anticipate raising that limit at any point? >> there is no reason for us to raise any limit. there is no military threat as we speak. qatar is pushing for diplomacy, resolution of the crisis. we are not worried about this matter. >> and you are not worried about the other country taking
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military action be on the blockade, which one would consider to be military? prepared. if that is their intention, qatar is prepared. i think we have said very clearly that we don't think they want to go that way. >> all right. shall we open this up to some questions from the audience? there are microphones on the side, if you could use those. we will start with a gentleman there on the right. if you could state your name and organization. waite minute, we have to for the cameras to adjust. feel free to queue up in the meantime. >> i will ask you one more
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question while we are hanging out. this is completely off-topic. i spent some time in qatar. a couple of months, it is a lovely place. you've got this blockade and you got this wonderful airline that is not allowed to land now in bahrain and riyadh. what impact do you see that having on your tourism and also on your workers, many of them come from elsewhere. >> at the beginning of the crisis, there was an interruption of flights but qatar year has managed best -- to adapt to the situation. so far they are doing fine. we are in a very comfortable situation. we need to focus on the
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humanitarian family issues. the challenge is, hoping we will find a solution to our challenge , the pilgrims, those that are going to mecca. >> is that something in negotiation right now? >> so far, qataris cannot fly there. we need to find an alternative. >> have you brought up this issue with saudi arabia and said this is a religious thing, not political. how did they respond? >> there is not any communication between us. it's difficult. >> have you asked intermediaries to bring up the issue? >> we are working.
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we are working with the mediators. >> we are ready to go with questions. please remember to state your name and organization. >> my name is mohammed. i currently in turn at people demand change. obviously, cutting diplomatic ties was a shock to all of us, throughout the world. is regarding the gcc and the future of the gcc, will there be a split between the gcc, will qatar and that leaving regarding all of this? >> thank you for your question. , qatar will continue to be an active member of the gcc. qatar believe the gcc is a very important entity in this region. it plays a very important role in the stabilizing of that region. see any harm coming to the unity of the gcc.
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>> good evening, ambassador. my name is jim moran. we do appreciate your coming to for a veryight clear, articulate, and candid discussion of an issue that is probably on a lot of people's minds who had never heard of qatar, but given the $18 million of attack ads that flood the tv stations, we cannot help but be aware of it. restraint inar's 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 conflicts. traditionally. but we will always stand on the side of the empowerment of women, greater freedom of expression and
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opting for mediation over conflict. we appreciate that you have prioritized these issues. one of the things that have been raised by people attacking qatar is the allegation that the money , that you are funding hamas because of the money you're putting into gaza reconstruction. i know that hamas is the only elected government in the strip, but is there not cooperation with the israeli government, doesn't that money have to go through and be coordinated in -- with the israeli government to the invested in the reconstruction of gaza? i think there's some misunderstanding of the role that qatar has played. >> thank you for your question. going back to the ads
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that are running against qatar, someone told me -- i don't know if it is correct, but somebody told me, no publicity is bad publicity. >> they are wrong. trust me. after 35 years in politics, that's not true. >> thank you for the important question you have raised. it is very important to indicate hamas isagement with in the context of the peace process. we were asked by the united states during the bush hamasstration to engage to encourage them to enter the elections. that is what we have done, being that the united states is an hamasus, we worked with to put them into a political process. nonviolence. after that, we all know that
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they won the elections, and a rift happened between hamas and plo. everyone in the international community agrees, in order to have a meaningful process with the israeli side, a reconsolidation have to be made between the palestinians. because it is only fair to say that israelis would ask, who do we discuss with? is engagedre qatar with the united states. of course, engagement is based and otherro document documents established. what we are doing is implementing this process. again, this engagement in that peace process context. is working in gaza but also the west bank in
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reconstruction efforts through the gaza reconstruction mechanism between andunited nations, plo, israeli government. of course, everything is being coordinated with the israeli government and we have supervision on the ground to make sure that what we are doing , building, in terms of housing, delivered are being and not abused so that is basically our engagement to them. >> thank you, ambassador. >> i am a member of the first council. the question i have is regarding saudi arabia. saudi arabia has a habit of
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-- history of invading its .eighbors they tried to invade abu dhabi. the rain, justed a few years ago. now they are more than knee-deep loss of with massive innocent life. so given the confusion in u.s. policy towards qatar in the sense that mr. tillerson doesn't seem to be on the same page of president trump and one says one thing, the other says something else. aren't you worried about what the saudi's may do. especially since the descendents , doohammad bin salman o something unusual and cause trouble for your country, isn't
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that something to worry about? >> thank you, sir, for your question. i would like to give my vision of the u.s. policy. i don't see any confusion in the united states policy towards this crisis. i think it was very clear in the state department that the de-escalation is important and people need to come around the table to discuss grievances. it is clear what the u.s. wants. based on the unity of the gcc i can assure you there is no confusion on this matter. we hope that we will resolve this crisis as quickly as possible, in order to make sure, again, the countries of the region focus on what is really important , fighting terrorism. that is what we need to focus on. thank you, sir. >> my name is marcio.
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i am from georgetown university but founder of the women's initiative. is the ceohat i know of a friend of mine, the home of , business owner, blue salon and is also the home of qvic, ,nd entrepreneurial incubation also the home of seven muslim woman who represented various nationalities of islam who climbed kilimanjaro for the benefit of children who were harmed. as a peacemaker, a person engaged in many civil societies, ,eyond retreating your tweets how can civil societies outside of governmental agencies peacemakers be engaged with your quest for more understanding of
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qatar which i know, and tools which i can give back beyond me retweeting your tweets? i think she is asking, how can we help you? >> thank you for your kind comments about qatar, the people of qatar. . think you are already helping we appreciate all the support that the u.s. administration is doing, also the u.s. people. we have a lot of support and we see people are speaking up about how this aggression is not justified but we really appreciate that. thank you very much. >> hello, my name is ahmed. i'm a student at new york
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university, and ejection as well. my question -- and i need an honest answer. >> have i not been honest all night? [laughter] >> what is your response of qatar hosting people from egypt that has been detained by authorities who are for example prominent members of the muslim brotherhood and they are now hosted in qatar. what do you think of the threat that al jazeera uses against wast now, the support that seized after 2013. supportsy qatar ejection people, but that support has stopped since 2013. what are your remarks on this issue? thank you. >> that is five or six questions.
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ahmed?me is you, we see egypt as a very important country in the arab world. we see egypt as a stability to the region. the support of qatar has not stopped. we have supported egypt since the general took power under -- until president cc. i can give you an example of how this has been translated. president took power in egypt, elected, everyone remembers egypt went through difficult times in terms of energy crisis. it was requested by him to qatar
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to provide some assistance in this matter. we have provided egypt five shipments of gas. the last one was received by president sisi. if we have any intention of undermining egypt, we would stop that, but we continued. we want to continue to support the people of egypt. we want to help egypt through the $8ancial assistance, billion that we have put for foreign currency in egypt. untiltinue keeping that the terms have ended and the they have asked us not to continue doing that. as far al jazeera, you can speak to al jazeera. i don't speak for al jazeera and they can tell you about their
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coverage. as for the individuals that you are mentioning, i'm not sure that we have people who are in qatar wanted by the egyptian government. if you are mentioning individuals running away from unfair persecutions and seeking asylum, that is a different discussion we have to have. there are international laws and regulations. they govern these issues. that is what i would like to tell you. we will continue to support egypt and every arab country. >> thank you, ambassador, for coming to speak with us. i'm an intern at the council on foreign relations. i would like you have a question about the impact of the u.s. policy on the current qatar crisis. the saudi arabians did impose a
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blockade almost weeks after president trump to visit to the country. furthermore, after it was imposed president trump took to twitter and said saudi arabia said they would take a hard line on funding extremism and pointed to qatar. do you think the changing u.s. security policy have any effect on a saudi security calculus, imposing this blockade? >> can you tell us your name please? kakitani. the policy is very clear when it comes to this crisis. i don't think the u.s. policy is intending to create a crisis in in the gulf region. believe, there was some misinformation given to the united states, these countries misled the
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united states and quickly the united states understood. they were very clear on how this crisis should end and we should negotiate. they underscored the importance of the gcc council as a unity. thank you. i am an intern. i'm from bahrain. how does the current situation within the countries in the region affect qatar's strategy with regards to the saudi-led coalition in yemen? according to the u.n., they have caused the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. thank you for the question. to clarify that, the role of qatar in the yemen war was subject only to defend the saudi borders so we
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do not engage in operations inside. only to defend the saudi borders. in the first day of aggression against qatar, they asked us to leave. so we don't have any troops now there. they kicked out our troops from their borders. >> prior to their decision to cut diplomatic ties? >> on the same day of the aggression, when they said we cut the relation, forced a blockade. they asked the troops to leave. ok, we have a few more minutes. more, you has a few have a few minutes to think of them. in the meantime, i have plenty. if there's any journalists in
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the room who also want to ask questions, feel free to do so. we will move on to some other things. i would like to ask a few economy. about qatar's beyond this crisis, what do you future growth areas, where do you see expansion in your initiatives in education and energy? 2030 sets the backdrop for that direction. the fact that we have invited universities from the u.s. is also not only to help us educate and find -- fight extremist ideology and also empower the youth to become entrepreneurs and we want
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transform our economy to a knowledge-based economy, we want to diversify our economy, step away gas and oil and this is something in the long run is achievable so this is where we are focusing. to have a knowledge-based economy that will help us diversify our income. as tony mentioned, you do rely quite a bit on the laborers from other countries. how are you working towards full employment for qataris in your country and what do you see about, there have been some allegations that some of the workers are low-paid and mistreated. what kind of labor laws are you looking at? >> first of all, i would say that we are grateful for
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expatriates who come to qatar to help us develop. this is something we highly appreciate. it is true, we have had challenges in the past with regards to labor laws. and that challenge stems from influx of expatriates who came to qatar. we were not able to adapt immediately. we have managed to identify the challenges, we have managed to amend and fix around 90 laws, we have expanded our inspection teams, we have a lot of concrete steps on the ground. we will continue to address this issue. we will continue to have a .etter environment
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.lso, laborers are protected this is something that will be ongoing for us. >> do you have any issues with what we call brain drain in this country? young qatari's going to the u.s. and britain, getting educated and not coming back. >> i don't think we do have this but i think most young qatari students do stay for a couple of years. for example, in the united states or europe, to gain experience. again, as tony mentioned, we are around 300,000 qataris, so we need them back. >> absolutely. tell me about your plans for fifa? excitednk we are very
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the world cup will be held in an arab region. the way we look at this is not just for qatar but for the middle east. we are having so many conflicts in the middle east at some point this could be giving some new hope. sports brings people together, brings people closer. that is our objectives. i can assure you we are on track and we will do our best to host the best world cup. >> one of the issues that has happened in the past is israeli have been barred from countries in the middle east for sporting event. there are religious freedom issues in qatar. how do you plan to deal with
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that, particularly, as athletes come in, and what path do you see towards allowing more religious freedom in qatar for christians and jews? >> i am happy to tell you that there is a great tolerance in qatar for people of other faiths. we have three churches in qatar, that expatriates are free to practice their religion. there is a big tolerance for other religions. don't forget, we have great respect for judaism, islam is the third faith. that is not a problem for anyone that wants to come to qatar and practice their faith. >> what about for israeli athletes? >> israel is part of the united nations. we have hosted many games before
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and they were not banned from coming to qatar. i do not see why they would be banned in the future. >> thank you for your time. we appreciate your frank and complete answers to all of our questions, and for enlightening us on the situation. >> i hope it was useful insights. thank you. [applause] >> the council has a reputation for being an organization of learning. i hope you all feel the knowledge that was shared -- >> we go now live to the east room in the white house where president trump is about to award the medal of honor, the first time he has done so in his

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