Qatar PM calls for Gulf role in Iran-West issues

January 7, 2012

Qatar’s Prime Minister said the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries should be involved in addressing the latest issues between the West and Iran.

“I believe that the best way is that we should be involved as Gulf States in any process to solve the problem between the West and Iran,” Shaikh Hamad Bin Jasem Al Thani said, quoted by Kuwait News Agency (Kuna).

“I think all of us have an interest in not having any conflicts in the Gulf. It is a very sensitive place and at the same time, it is our region. I believe that all of us have tried a military conflict and all of us know that there is no winner in military conflicts, especially for the countries around the Gulf. That’s why we have to find other ways,” he said when asked what the solution would be and what the Gulf States’ reaction would be if there were a confrontation.

Kuna said that Shaikh Hamad, also Qatar’s foreign minister, made the statement following a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York City.

The Qatari leader said that there were worries about the escalation of the rhetoric between the US and Iran.

“Of course we are concerned about this, and we believe that what is happening now needs the region itself to be involved in how to settle these problems,” he said. “We have always said that there was no way to sort this out without a dialogue between the region and Iran, between Iran and the West. I do not believe that there is another way to sort this out.”

Wary of “ugly surprises”, the Gulf states have been for years concerned that Iran-US talks could result in unacceptable deals that would undermine their security and stability.

Gulf officials say that they do encourage a dialogue between Iran and the US that will help the region avoid sliding into military action, but are worried that Washington and Tehran would strike a deal at their expense.

The GCC have regularly insisted that it should be involved in talks between Iran and the world’s major powers, stressing that keeping them out of matters that would affect them was “the wrong system of talks”.

In December 2009, Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa told senior US officials that the GCC countries were “essential partners on sensitive issues related to the region” and that their interests should be represented in talks related to the Gulf.

Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, said at a forum in Manama in 2009 that negotiations or talks on Iran’s nuclear programme that did not include the Arab countries of the Gulf were doomed “because the process was flawed”.

“Somebody’s trying to do business while we’re not there, while we’re not present in that room. This is a fundamental mistake of how these talks were conducted. I think that is the main reason why the talks failed,” Shaikh Khalid told the Manama Dialogue, a security conference that brought together political and security leaders from 25 countries, including Iran and the US.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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