Tag Archives: Qatar

Borrell welcomes intra-afghan talks

“The European Union welcomes the launch of the direct Intra-Afghan Negotiations between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban mouvement” said the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell. He described the talks which started in Doha, capital of Qatar, as a “ground-breaking moment”.

It marks the start of a genuine peace process, which should lead to the peace that the people of Afghanistan deserve and have long demanded.

“As the European Union, we urge the parties to accompany the start of the peace talks with an immediate, comprehensive, nationwide and unconditional ceasefire.

“With this new chapter opening, a mere reduction of violence is no longer enough. Now all preconditions are fulfilled, nothing should prevent a ceasefire from being accepted and implemented by both parties” the head of the European diplomacy continued.

“This process must now be truly owned and led by Afghans. International partners must respect Afghanistan’s sovereignty and independence when supporting these negotiations.

It must preserve and build on the political, economic and social achievements of the citizens of Afghanistan since 2001, especially on women’s rights” Borrell said.

“To achieve this, the European Union is working with all parties. We want to ensure that peace negotiations are inclusive and respectful of the wish of Afghans to live in a peaceful, secure and prosperous country. A country with economic development and growth, providing new opportunities for its citizens, where rights are upheld and vulnerable groups are protected”.

“Let the start of these negotiations be the much-needed and long overdue beginning of a new and more peaceful chapter for Afghanistan”.

However, the experts say that assembling all groups involved in the conflict at the negotiating table doesn’t necessarily mean they all believe a mutually acceptable political settlement. It can be tactical for all sides to demonstrate that the situaiton is evolving, and for the government in Kabul to show to the international community the progress they have achieved.

The success of peace negotiations depends directly on the resources of the groups involved and their capablities to continue fighting. However it also depends on them changing their perception of the conflict which in almost two decades has shown that neighter of the sides is capable of the definitive victory.

While all parties express their willingness to end the prtotracted conflict, there are doubts whether the peace efforts could have got this far without US pressure for intra-Afghan negotiations to begin. In spite of the the US diplomatic involvement aimed at the end of the violence, and Trump administration insistance to reach the deal before the US election on November 3, the perspectives of implementing it is not guaranteed.

The talks could be concluded with a de jure peace agreement being imposed on Afghanistan, however there are doubts in sincere will of the envolved parties to respect it on long term, while Taliban has never renounced its ambition to ascend power in Kabul. In some areas the differences are still remarkable: the administration of the President Ashraf Ghani is seraching for preservation of numerous rights, namely women’s rights. Among the delegation of the 21 government negociators, who came to Doha, four are women, while among Taliban they are none.

The Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, said that “Afghan society doesn’t have a deadline”. Taking into consideration the massive human cost of the two decades of war, these peace efforts must be given a genuine chance – along with the necessary time and space to succeed, the experts conclude.

Qatar announces “ambition” to join NATO

Qatar’s defense minister Khalid bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah said that his country’s long-term strategic “ambition” is to join the NATO.

Reaching the anniversary of a year-long bitter Gulf diplomatic dispute, which has seen Qatar separated from its former regional allies, the minister said Qatar announced country’s interest to become a full member of the 29-country alliance.

The minister added that the alliance could assist Qatar in fighting against terrorism and could be a guarantor of stability in the region.

In March, Qatari armed forces signed an agreement with NATO on military and security cooperation.

The same time  Qatar’s Foreign Minister has rejected Saudi Arabia’s reported threats of military action over Doha’s interest in buying Russian S-400 missile systems. He said the country can decide for itself what weapons to buy. “The purchase of any military equipment is a sovereign decision that no country has anything to do with,” Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told Qatari TV channel Al Jazeera. He stressed that any external pressure on the nation would violate international law.

“Qatar’s economy has suffered on several fronts as new logistics links proved to be more expensive in the short term,” Andreas Krieg, a professor at King’s College London said. “However, Qatar has been able to transform this crisis into an opportunity.”





Qatar willing to engage in dialogue

Demands made of Qatar by four other Arab states were designed to be rejected, Doha’s foreign minister said, explaining that their ultimatum was aimed not at defeating terrorism but at curtailing his country’s sovereignty.

In spite of this assessment of the oppontents position Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, speaking to reporters in Rome, ensured Qatar was ready to  discuss the grievances raised by its Arab neighbours.

“This list of demands is made to be rejected. It’s not meant to be accepted or … to be negotiated,” Sheikh Mohammed said, underlinging that Qatar is willing to engage in further dialogue given “the proper conditions”.

Erdogan calls Gulf states requests to Qatar ‘disrespectful’

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said supports Qatar’s response to a list of demands issued by Arab states boycotting the Gulf emirate, and underlined that the calls for a closure  of Turkish military base there were disrespectful.

Qatar has described the pressure by its larger neighbours as an “illegal blockade” aimed at curbing its sovereignty, and insisted that the ultimatum by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain was unreasonable.

Qatar defines boycott as illegal

Four Arab states declared a boycott on Qatar, and issued an ultimatum to Doha with a demand to shut down Al Jazeera television channel, curb ties with Iran, close a Turkish base and pay reparations.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have sent a 13-point list of demands openly aimed on tempering Qatar’s active foreign policy. Kuwait is helping mediate the dispute.

Doha was reviewing the list of demands and that a formal response would be made by the foreign ministry and delivered to Kuwait, but added that the demands were not reasonable or actionable, according to a Qatari government spokesman.

“This list of demands confirms what Qatar has said from the beginning – the illegal blockade has nothing to do with combating terrorism, it is about limiting Qatar’s sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy,” Sheikh Saif al-Thani director of Qatar’s government communications office, said in issued statement.

Iran sends fresh food to Qatar

Iran has sent four cargo planes of fresh food to Qatar and plans to provide 100 tonnes of fruit and vegetable daily, Iranian officials confirmed, amid growing concerns of shortages after Qatar’s biggest suppliers severed ties.

Qatar has been in talks with Iran and Turkey to secure food and water supplies after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut links, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism. Qatar says the allegations are false.

“Following the sanctions (…) on Qatar, IranAir has so far transported food and vegetables to this country by four flights,” Shahrokh Noushabadi, head of public relations at Iran’s national airline, was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.
It was not clear whether the deliveries were made in the form of exports or aid. Qatar is largely dependent on foodstuff imports to meet its needs, and thus vulnerable to the Saudi blockade, according to Iranian PressTV site.

EU for de-escalation of Gulf tensions

“The European Union is talking to all sides directly involved in the ongoing tensions and crisis across the Gulf and around the Gulf, in particular within the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council], with two simple messages: one, avoid any further escalation; and, second, engage in a political dialogue, in particular taking advantage of the mediation efforts that Kuwait is putting in place” – Federica Mogherini said.

“These are the two clear, straight forwarding messages that we are passing to our friends in the region”, said the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini after which she described as a “very long, substantial and good” meeting with Foreign Minister [Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman] Al-Thani of Qatar.

Qatar in diplomatic isolation

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed their ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism, opening up the worst rift in years among some of the most powerful states in the Arab world.

The coordinated move escalates a dispute over Qatar’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s oldest Islamist movement, and adds accusations that Doha suppports the agenda of regional arch-rival Iran.

Mogherini towards talks on Syria


A second round of meetings in the framework of the European Union’s Regional Initiative on the future of Syria begins this week. A series of bilateral meetings at the level of senior officials will take place between the European Union and representatives of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, and in the coming days with Turkey and Qatar.

The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini proposed an initiative on the future of Syria with key regional players to the attention of the EU Heads of State and Government by the end of last year, they approved of it and suggested to develop it further. As follows Mogherini had a first round of talks with the Foreign ministers of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Emirates, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, and Qatar.

The major objective of the Syria initiative is to identify common ground on the post-conflict arrangements, and further to enhance the reconciliation and reconstruction once a credible political transition is firmly under way. The initiative is conducted in full coordination and support of the intra-Syrian talks that will be held by the UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura in Geneva in February, and in view of the Brussels Conference on Syria and the region.

(Source: EEAS)