His Excellency Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabor Al Thani Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Fourth IISS Regional Security Summit
Manama, The Kingdom of Bahrain
8 december 2007
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain for hosting this conference. And for the warm welcome and hospitality we received since our arrival to our second home, the Kingdom of Bahrain.
I had originally intended to address the topic entitled ( Energy and Regional Security), however, in response to the wishes of my brothers in the Kingdom of Bahrain, I will address a topic of no less importance that is ( GCC ) Security and Economic Development ). In fact, this topic was the main theme of the opening address of HH Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, during the 28th GCC Summit held in Qatar merely a few days ago.
The Gulf region is the worlds main source of energy, at the core of the global economy. It has 60% of the worlds oil reserves and 40% of its natural gas. As a result, the challenges faced by the region are by no means solely a regional concern-but issues that can threaten global security.
We must ask ourselves: Did this economic reality play a positive role in enhancing the regions security?
We, the State of Qatar, believe that the crises facing the Arabian Gulf, from poverty and wars some of its nations suffer from to conflicting interests of various stakeholders including multinational corporations have disrupted our harmony.
Furthermore, they deepened the gap between the various concerned parties. This was further dampened by the current dispute regarding the Iranian nuclear programme. Thus, simply implying that time is of the essence, for we are in a vulnerable stage which requires from all, and for the benefit of all: reasoning and objectivity. Only then we be able to develop our emerging economies fully utilizing available resources. These realities compel us, both the people of the Gulf and the leading nations of the world, to double our efforts towards development, for the absence of development hinders not only economic development but security itself.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Protecting our common interests necessitates, first and foremost, impartiality in resolving regional concerns that have created unprecedented phenomena that threaten regional and global security, in particular terrorism.
History has proven that coercion on own does not lead to stability. And that a cultural of dialogue based on peaceful cohabitation and respect for sovereignty paves the path to settle disputes effectively regardless of its causes.
It is our aspiration that dialogue defeats accusations, and that our common interest defeats confrontation. Indeed, without placing the strategic importance of the region in the forefront, we will never be able to settle our security issues. Only then will our collective efforts leads to regional security..
Therefore, we in the Sate of Qatar welcome dynamic, frank and constructive dialogues such as the Manama Dialogue that gathers us here today. It is an invaluable channel that brings together diverse insights and expertise. We hope that this forum will reap positive results towards realizing peace and security for our region and all its people.
This is but our humble message, and this is our aspiration.