NEW DELHI 12 August 2017: Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, has said that the best route for Qatar to end the stand-off in the region is to address the concerns of its neighbours about destabilising them as sovereign nations.
He was talking to a group of Indian editors at the end of his two-day visit to India. Dr. Gargash when asked about demands to close down Al Jazeera, he said that Al Jazeera’s Arabic channel is a “pamphlet of the Muslim Brotherhood” and, therefore, a threat to peace, said Wam.
Dr. Gargash is the first high-level official to visit India from any of the four Arab countries which have taken a principled stand against terrorism funded and promoted by Qatar since their actions to restrain Doha began at the end of May.
The UAE minister assured Indian leaders and senior officials that recent developments in the region will have no adverse impact on Indian communities in the Gulf or on India’s economic interests there. He also assured India that the four countries in question had no intention of escalating tensions in the region.
In an hour-long briefing on the extremist threat emanating from Qatar, Dr. Gargash said it was not an instance of four states, some of them large, bullying a small state.
“Qatar is a small, but wealthy, state using its financial means to support terrorism. This is not a matter of five Arab states in a feud.”
Describing Qatar as a “financier of terror,” Dr. Gargash said that the list of terrorists, who have found safe haven in Doha, include many who have been conclusively sanctioned by the United Nations or the United States of America.
“Today terrorism is a global issue. No city in India or the US or Europe or anywhere else is immune from the global threat of terror. We cannot tolerate the view that a little terrorism and a little extremism is acceptable,” he explained as the rationale behind the stand-off. “The grey areas surrounding terrorism and extremism have to be eliminated.”
He said the Gulf Cooperation Council has proved valuable to all and the preference is for a reformed Qatar to be part of the GCC.
Staff Reporters adds that during his official visit to India, Dr. Gargash held delegation-level talks with Minister of State for External Affairs, M.J. Akbar on 9 August. Dr. Gargash separately met with the National Security Adviser. He also met with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Secretary Dr. S. Jaishankar.
Dr Gargash was accompanied by Mr. Mohammed Sharaf, Assistant Minister of Economy and other senior officials in the Government of the UAE. The two sides discussed matters of mutual interest pertaining to bilateral, regional and international affairs. The talks were held in constructive and friendly spirit.
M.J. Akbar expressed thanked UAE for contributing significantly to India’s energy security, being a key supplier of crude oil.
The two sides reviewed the progress made in achieving the target set for UAE investments in India. Akbar expressed satisfaction over signing of the MOU on framework for facilitating the participation of UAE Institutional Investors in National Infrastructure Investment Fund, with Abu Dhabi Investment Authority agreeing to contribute towards the NIIF Master Fund.
Dr Gargash conveyed appreciation for the contribution of the Indian community in UAE in the development of their host country which has been an important anchor of excellent bilateral engagement.
On regional issues, Dr Gargash briefed his Indian interlocutors about the situation in the Gulf region. He was briefed about India’s position that peace and security in the Gulf are of paramount importance for the continued progress and prosperity of the region. Terrorism, violent extremism and religious intolerance pose grave threat not only to the regional stability but also to the global peace and order. India is of the view that parties should resolve their differences through a process of constructive dialogue and peaceful negotiations.
ICAO rejects Qatar’s quest to politicise its crisis
MONTREAL: The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has issued a series of resolutions regarding a complaint filed by Qatar against the four boycotting nations.
”The ICAO’s Council acknowledged that political outstanding issues between these concerned states should be tackled in the international forums away from the ICAO after its council has taken note of the Qatari complaint, the reply of the four counter-terrorism nations and heard from the ICAO’s Secretariat General about the flow of the air traffic over the international waters,” according to a statement issued by the Montreal-based United Nations agency overseeing global air travel, said Wam.
Commenting on ICAO’s resolutions, Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), said:”These resolutions confirm the neutrality of ICAO and its commitment to its mandate, which it was founded for, to ensure the safety of civil aviation across the world.” Al Suwaidi valued the ICAO and its Council’s reluctance to be dragged and involved into political issues whereas member states emphasised that these matters should be discussed in specialised forums.
While chairing the discussion session, the President of ICAO’s Council affirmed that New York is just one hour away from Montreal in a reference to the UN headquarters.
In its resolutions, the Council appreciated efforts being made by the Secretariat General and concerned states to prepare contingency measures in the Gulf region and asked the Secretariat General to continue coordination with these states and neighbouring states to ensure a swift implementation of precautionary measures.
While explaining issues about emergency routes, Al Suwaidi said member states of the ICAO’s Council commended the steps made by the four nations to open new emergency routes to ensure smooth flow of air traffic overseas.
”These routes are temporary, which are granted in exceptional cases and during the increase of air traffic in specific area,” Al Suwaidi stressed.
”The UAE’s sovereign airspace is still close to Qatar-registered planes,” he affirmed.
The ICAO’s resolutions also welcomed commitment by the quartet to pursue technical consultations under the ICAO’s umbrella to ensure implementation of the best technical solutions. The Council asked the Secretariat General to provide regular information and present an updated report for the upcoming session of the Council.
The Council urged member states to continue cooperation so as to enhance safety, efficiency, security and sustainability of international air traffic.
It also expressed appreciation to the four nations for the spirit of cooperation they have shown during the extraordinary session.
By Rajive Singh