Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani Addresses Arab League Council

March 26, 2014 - His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani attended the opening session of the 25th Meetings of the Arab League Council in Kuwait on Tuesday.  In his role as president of the 24th Meetings of the Arab League Council, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani addressed the other heads of state and welcomed participants to the event, speaking on the Palestinian issue and the challenge of the Arab-Israeli conflict.   He also called for solidarity and avoiding recriminations between Arab states in confronting the challenges posed by terrorism.  He emphasized the need not to stigmatize whole communities for the actions of some within them and emphasized the need to address the challenge with dialogue. The full text of his speech is below. In the name of Allah, the most compassionate, the most merciful, Your Majesties, excellencies, and Highnesses, Your Excellencies, Excellency the Secretary–General of the Arab League Honorable Audience, Assalamu’ alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh, It is my pleasure to extend to my brother His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the government and people of sisterly State of Kuwait my sincere thanks for the warm reception, generous hospitality and cordial welcome, as well as the distinguished preparations for this summit which facilitated its convening in the best and easiest conditions. We hope that it would be groomed for reaching its goals and succeeding in its deliberations. I would also like to thank His Excellency Dr, Nabil Al Arabi, Secretary General of the Arab League and the staff of the General Secretariat, for the efforts they have exerted in preparing and arranging for this summit, and I dedicate my special thanks to them for their cooperation with us during our presidency of the 24th session and their contribution to implementing its resolutions. Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses, Our presidency of the 24th Arab summit came amid delicate conditions, and very sensitive regional and international complexities, which have prompted us to implement keenly and diligently Doha summit resolutions through your sincere collaboration with us, where some resolutions were accomplished, we went a long way on others, however, hope to implement remaining ones was not fulfilled due to hurdles that coupled separately with each case. This summit convened against the backdrop of similar circumstances, which make it incumbent on us to entertain wisdom, prudence and sincere cooperation among all of us. Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses The Palestinian issue and the Arab Israeli conflict remain as the most important challenges facing us as a nation. The cause of the Palestinian people is a cause of destiny and existence for us as Arabs. Stability and security could not be achieved in the region without a just settlement based on the resolutions of the international and Arab legality. As you know the intransigent Israeli policies is a major obstacle ahead thwarting the achievement of the aspired peace, by means of reneging on implementing international resolutions, its elusiveness and adding new preconditions in each round of negotiations. It wanted the international community to get accustomed to its perpetual violation of the international law until the international community considers it as a commonplace matter, by means of continuing the policy of settlements, Judaizing Jerusalem (Al-Quds) , and serious violations against the sanctity of the Holy Aqsa Mosque , which have rendered the whole peace process suspicious in the eyes of Arab peoples. Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses, We emphasize the importance of a just peaceful settlement, but the continuation of settlement activities, aggression perpetrated by settlers against the Palestinians, lack of terms of reference for negotiations and upping the ante by the Israelis, will relegate the negotiations devoid of their contents. Israel has to know that the only viable solution to end the Arab–Israeli conflict and to achieve a comprehensive and just peace is based on the complete withdrawal of Israel from all occupied Arab and Palestinian territories, and establishing the independent Palestinian State with the holy Al-Quds as its capital. Israel is not alone in possessing a public opinion, we have a pan-Arab public opinion which has started to raise skepticism on the credibility of the whole political settlement. Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses, The stifling siege clamped on Gaza strip and the ensuing suffering it created were neither acceptable, nor politically and morally justified at any day. In the State of Qatar we have exerted persistent efforts to alleviate the suffering of our Palestinian brothers in Gaza, and made diligent efforts to reconstruct the Strip and supply fuel to facilitate day-to-day living conditions there. In this context it is incumbent on us , we all the Arabs to act to end this unjust, unjustified and incomprehensible blockade immediately ,and to open border crossing points for the inhabitants of Gaza to enable them practice their daily life on an equal footing with other peoples. On what ground more than one million people are imprisoned, and having their habitat turned into a massive detention camp for eight years? It is incumbent on us also to deliver on the pledges we have made to provide financial and other assistances to remove or alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people, initiate reconstruction and encounter the illegal Israeli policies and practices until the Palestinian people restore their rights, namely establishing their independent State on their territories and homeland. I refer in this respect to the resolution of Doha Summit according to a proposal by the State of Qatar to set up a fund for aiding Al-Quds with a Billion-dollar fund. His Highness the Father Emir declared then a quarter of billion dollars contribution to the fund , but the resolution was not put in place, which prompt me to declare Qatar’s commitment to the amount it had pledged to establish the Qatari fund for aiding Al-Quds, ( and we will coordinate with the Palestinian president , Mahmoud Abbas in this respect.) We cannot ignore the fact that the Palestinian schism has serious repercussions on the ability of the Palestinian people to counter pressures, and the future of their national project. We call on all the Palestinian leaders to put an end to Palestinian division and give priority to the supreme national interests by forming an interim national coalition government to accomplish the constitutional and executive tasks to restore the national unity as enshrined in Cairo accord, May 2011, and Doha Declaration, February 2012. We also reiterate our call for implementing the resolution of Doha Summit to convene a lesser Pan-Arab Summit in which the Arab countries willing to contribute to the Palestinian national reconciliation could participate, and we are ready to host this summit. Your Majesties, Excellences and Highnesses, We are meeting today while the humanitarian catastrophe in sisterly Syria is getting worse with no international prospect for saving the brotherly people of Syria. The Syrian regime is continuing its pursuit on the wrong path without compunction or resorting to reason. The cost of intransigence went beyond the worst expectations, namely hundred thousands were killed or injured, other hundred thousands were unaccounted for or detained without knowing their destiny, nine million rendered displaced or refugees, entire neighborhoods and cities were destroyed while others suffer from stifling siege spreading death, starvation and oppression on the streets. We have all welcomed and contributed to the convening of Geneva 2 Conference with the objective of reaching a solution that guarantees to Syria its independence, sovereignty, security and territorial integrity and brings peace to its environs, yet the Syrian regime reluctantly came to negotiations just to buy time. It has continued to kill Syrian citizens and demolish their cities and villages, yet the negotiation ended in failure. The regime’s claims that it accepts the political solution are nothing but an overt deception, which only those who ostensibly don’t want to do anything regarding the gravity of the crime, take for granted. The chemical weapons and gun barrels could never terminate the peoples’ aspirations for freedom. They may prolong suffering and increase the price to be incurred by Syria as a whole. The Syrian children’s sufferings became a stigma for the international community and we have to take action pursuant to the Arab League resolutions and international legality to put an end to this crisis and realize the aspirations of the Syrian people who paid heavy price for their freedom. Syria has suffered so much. Majesties, Excellences and Highnesses, The broad transformations experienced by our region during the last three years have revived Arab peoples’ hopes for a better future they deserve and also have renewed confidence in itself and its youth. If some parties failed to achieve stability because the political horizon is blocked, yet we are confident that they would surmount the difficult circumstances they are reeling under as is the case with other brethren who introduced dialogue among various social and political forces. We put emphasis on the fraternity bonds which link us to the bigger sister, Egypt, which we wish it security and political stability and all the good for the path to be chosen by its people who set memorable examples in expressing their ambitions, and we hope this would be realized through a comprehensive political societal dialogue. We do congratulate our brothers in Tunisia on their constitutional achievement and commend them for their search for compromises and renunciation of division. We also commend the brothers in Yemen for their wisdom in choosing dialogue for building a modern State, laying down the foundations of its political order and maintaining the unity and sovereignty of their country. On the other hand we value the remarkable progress achieved by the brotherly Sudan in establishing peace and security in Darfur. The Sudanese government have exerted appreciated efforts towards the implementation of Doha Agreements and reaching a solution for all pending political and security issues with all factions in Darfur. And would like to confirm our continuous support for the reconstruction of Darfur and develop the province to the extent allowing it promote its potentials and upgrading its resources. Despite the continuation of the difficult and complicated situation in Somalia, yet we appreciate the steps made by the brothers in Somalia to reconstruct the institutions of the State, the rule of law and proceeding on the right path towards regaining the national unity following long decades of wars. Majesties, Excellencies, Highnesses, It is high time for the brotherly Iraq to get out of the vortex of violence and divisions, and this would not be achieved by the exclusion of entire authentic societal segments or accusing them of terror when they demand equality and participation. Here we all condemn terrorism. There is no dispute in this matter. Terrorism has a specific meaning. It targets civilians, by killing, intimidation and attacking civilian facilities for political purposes. Brothers we should neither stigmatize full communities with terrorism, nor attach it to those who differ politically with us, because that would proliferate terrorism rather than isolating it. It is also unbecoming of any one who fails to maintain national unity to accuse other Arab countries of supporting terrorism in his own country. Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses, The crisis of development in all its dimensions has posed a threat to the national and regional security in our region, and will lead in the event of its exacerbation to an unfavorable outcome. It contributes to the spread of the feelings of despair and radicalism threatening political and social stability, and which entails action to find new paradigms to overcome the dilemmas of development in all its dimensions, first and foremost the issues of poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, and public health, by creating an integrated regional Arab order, which combines the interests of all our countries in order to achieve progress and prosperity for the Arab peoples. These aspirations will remain subject to the extent of progress that we can achieve in our major mission, namely coordination and cooperation to achieve pan-Arab integration. In the context of the concept of unity and integration I emphasize the need to renounce fanaticism, sectarianism, and regionalism of all kinds, and valuing the diversity enriching our societies to maintain citizenship as the basis of affiliation to our nations. I would like also to mention in this context, our experience in the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the need to develop and upgrade it to live up to the aspirations of our peoples, and to enable the Cooperation Council contribute to strengthening of the potentials of the entire Arab nation, and to become a pillar of its renaissance. Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses, The Prophet of Allah peace be upon him said: " Your best leaders are those whom you love and they love you, and you pray for them , and they pray for you, and the most wicked ones are those whom you hate and they hate you , and you curse them and they curse you. " O’ Allah we pray to you to make us among those beloved by their peoples, and with whom we reciprocate the same feelings. Let me in conclusion, and at the end of our presidency of the Arab summit to invite my brother (my big brother) His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait to take over the presidency of the 25th Ordinary Session of the Arab League Council at the summit level, praying to Allah the Almighty to help him culminate his efforts in success in shouldering this responsibility. Finally, I hope that this summit would achieve positive results in strengthening pan-Arab solidarity and achieving the aspirations of the Arab peoples.  May Allah Peace, Mercy and blessings be upon you.