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Qatar describes political efforts in Syria as an 'immoral waiting game'

February 10, 2014 at 11:05 am

Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah accused Bashar al-Assad’s regime of committing “systematic crimes” against people in Syria.

Al-Attiyah also blamed the international community for not putting an immediate end to the daily “atrocities” which are being committed against Syrians saying that Assad ” has lost any interest in political solutions.”

Speaking to the home of the Royal Institute of International Affairs based in London, Chatham House, al-Attiyah laid out his country’s policy on different world issues, focusing mainly on the Middle East.

Regarding the Syrian issue, he said, “Our stance has always been to call for a peaceful political solution despite the systematic crimes of the Assad regime.”

He described the situation during the conflict in Syria as saying, “Three years into the conflict, the country is destroyed. More than 3 million refugees. An average of 3,000 deaths per month. Thousands of innocent children killed, thousands of harmless women and girls subjected to sexual abuse and violence.”

The minister made clear that his country no longer believes that Assad wants to politically end the conflict. “In the face of such atrocity, it is our conviction that Bashar al-Assad has lost any interest in political solutions,” he said.

He then blamed the international community for being held “hostage to his [Assad] desire to stay in power at any human cost,” he declared, “The State of Qatar simply cannot subscribe to this immoral waiting game.”

Al-Attiyah stressed that Qatar would protect life of Syrians in any possible way, and work to “ensure a safe corridor for humanitarian aid, to promote a political solution to end the violence, to support the coalition in their aspiration for transitional government.”

He said that his country is ready to “collaborate through the Friends of Syria group and other multilateral channels” to fulfill its duty there.

On the Palestinians cause, al-Attiya said that his country supports the Arab Peace Initiative and the role played by the United States “to find a just solution to the conflict.”

The minister stressed that the Palestinian issue is the prime concern of all Arabs. “We emphasise that the Palestinian cause is our cause and the first cause of the Arab people.”

Hailing the EU stance on settlements, he said, “we reject all forms of Israeli settlement and praise the European Union’s firm and coherent position in this regard.”

Blaming Israel for being ambiguous about the ending the conflict, he said “it is unclear that Israel has any intention to bring this conflict to an end, despite the willingness to engage of Qatar and other peace-seeking parties.

“It is unclear also that Israel has shown any commitment during this negotiation, despite our dedication to pick this complex yet realistic process.”

He stressed that Israel has to withdraw from Palestinians territories to achieve peace. “Our position remains that peace cannot and will not be achieved until Israel fully withdraws from the occupied territories,” he said.

“Our position remains that a just solution consists of the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders with full sovereignty and East Jerusalem as its capital,” he said. “Anything short of that will only delay peace and justice further,” he added.