Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani stressed that the State of Qatar will continue its efforts as an impartial mediator to enhance international agreement over Afghanistan, and that it will continue and coordinate will all friendly countries to ensure the interests of Afghanistan and its people.
His Excellency said, in a joint press conference held with HE Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom Dominic Raab, that his discussions with the UK Secretary of State focused primarily on Afghanistan.
During the conference, HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs praised the strong the strategic relations between the State of Qatar and the United Kingdom in all fields, stressing that the meeting with HE the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom dealt with bilateral relations and the means to enhance them in all fields. His Excellency noted that the two sides evaluated the security and political developments of Afghan. They also discussed the challenges and how to address them, stressing that the two sides share similar views regarding how to deal with these developments.
He noted that he reviewed with the UK Secretary of State the outcomes of the latest meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the framework of the meeting of the foreign ministers of the group of 7, and how to build international agreement on Afghanistan.
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani stressed the importance of uniting efforts to reiterate the importance of protecting civilians, providing safe passages, and ensuring the freedom of movement. He also stressed the importance of cooperation to counter-terrorism and ensure that Afghanistan, in the future, is not a destabilizing factor in the region.
On restarting operations at Kabul Airport and the State of Qatar's role in that regard, His Excellency said that the evaluation process is still ongoing and that it is early to make a decision regarding that. He noted that there wasn't a clear indicator that shows that the airport is read. He said that they are currently in the phase of evaluating whether Qatar's support will help make a difference in resuming operations at the airport sooner, noting however that there is currently no agreement on how that will take place and that it is being discussed.
His Excellency said that the State of Qatar is in contact with the Taliban regarding the issues and threats in restarting operations at the airport, adding that he was optimistic they will be able to restart operations as soon as possible.
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs said that the subject represents a great indicator if Taliban honored its commitment to providing a safe passage to those who want to leave Afghanistan, including Afghan citizens, stressing that the State of Qatar is sparing no effort in communicating with the Taliban. He also noted that there was constant communication with the Turkish side to discuss whether they could provide technical help in that regard, expressing his hope that there will be progress made in the coming day.
For his part, HE Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom Dominic Raab expressed his appreciation for the State of Qatar's role in Afghanistan, and its support of the United Kingdom's evacuation operations in Afghanistan.
His Excellency said that the State of Qatar has played an exceptional role in supporting the United Kingdom in implementing the process of safe transit for about 17,000 from Afghanistan, which is the largest operation of its kind in the UK's history. His Excellency said that the UK highly values the role the State of Qatar played in these operations.
His Excellency said that he visited the compound that hosts Afghan refugees in Doha, expressing his country's readiness to receive those who want to seek asylum in the United Kingdom.
Regarding his meetings in Doha, His Excellency said that discussions in Doha focused on bilateral relations between the State of Qatar and the United Kingdom, and expressed the UK's satisfaction with these ties that are based on the common history, but highlighted the Afghan issue was the most prominent in the discussions.
His Excellency added that on the Afghan issue, the focus of the meetings was the need for Afghanistan not to become a haven for terrorism in the future, to avoid a humanitarian crisis there, maintain stability in the region, and test and hold the Taliban accountable according to their commitments in order to transition to an inclusive government.
His Excellency added that there is a need to adapt to the new reality, and highlighted that the UK's immediate priorities are to ensure the safe passage of British nationals who have remained there as well as Afghans who have worked with the UK, as well as other people who are most at risk.
HE Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs pointed to the regional challenges resulting from the influx of Afghan migrants and refugees to the region and neighboring countries, stressing that his country has doubled its support to confront these challenges.
His Excellency also stressed the need to build an international coalition for this issue, noting that the Security Council resolution on Afghanistan, which was passed recently, constitutes a good framework that all countries agree on as a path for the future.
His Excellency reiterated the importance of expanding consensus by involving other countries in the region, pointing out that there are many countries that are directly affected by developments in Afghanistan.
On continuing evacuations, HE Raab said, that the UK following up on the issue of reopening Kabul Airport, and that he will visit the countries of the region in order to ensure safe passage to other countries.
His Excellency stressed that his country would not recognize the Taliban in the foreseeable future, but warned of the need for direct communication with them at this stage. he expressed his belief that there is great scope for communication and dialogue to test the intentions of the Taliban to ensure that they abide by the guarantees they pledged.
His Excellency added that the UK will judge the Taliban by their actions, and not words in light of the guarantees they pledged. He also said that the UK will work with all partners, most notably the State of Qatar, to protect the gains made in Afghanistan during the last twenty years, and that the UK will monitor the Taliban's commitment to human rights and women's rights.
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