H.E. Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
the Preparatory Ministerial Meeting of the Arab League Council 21st Ordinary Session at the Summit Level
Doha, 28 March 2009
H.E. the Arab League Secretary General,
Peace Be Upon You and God's Blessings,
I have great pleasure to welcome you to your second homeland and express our happiness at your presence with us in Doha.
First, I would like to extend my thanks to Mr. Waleed Almualim, the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, who has made commendable efforts during his country's presidency of the 2Oth Summit.
I would also like to thank Mr. Amro Mousa, the Arab League Secretary General, Assistant Secretaries General and all personnel of the Arab League General Secretariat for their efforts.
Our meeting is being convened under extremely important conditions which require that we exert considerable efforts to support joint Arab action and that we should be frank and open. The conditions through which the Arab nation is passing through call upon us to undertake responsibility to act with a view to uniting our ranks and objectives. The challenges are huge and the risks are numerous, while Arab peoples wait for us to match our statements with deeds.
At the consultations session held last evening, we studied with frankness and transparency the views and ideas related to what should be done on the issues that concern the Arab nation in the present and foreseeable future.
Our agenda is full of issues of special importance, which are cause of considerable concern for all of us. The Palestinian issue, the situation in Sudan, the position of the International Criminal Court, the situation in Iraq and Somalia as well as other issues are not of less importance than the above ones and they prompt us to find positive results leading to suitable solutions despite their difficulty and complexity.
The atrocious crime perpetrated by Israel in the Gaza Strip was aimed at breaking the Palestinian people's will, undermining their resistance and weakening their determination. However, this objective has been thwarted. The Palestinian steadfastness has continued thanks to their gallant resistance despite the Israeli military machine, as well as pains, suffering, siege and strangling of Palestinians. Hence, we are all called upon to stand by the Palestinian people and provide all kinds of support to them to enable them to realize their objectives to set up their independent state on their national territory with Alquds as its capital. From this platform we appeal to the Palestinian leaders to accelerate their efforts to achieve reconciliation and unite the Palestinians.
With regard to the International Criminal Court, we all believe that peace and justice are inseparable objectives for resolving any conflict in Darfur and elsewhere. We believe that justice cannot be attained without realizing peace. It is unfortunate and cause for raising legitimate questions that the recent step by the International Criminal Court to call to justice H.H. Presidnet Omar Hassan Ahmed Albasheer, were taken at a time of escalation of the efforts made by the State of Qatar, within the Arab-African Ministerial Committee and in coordination with the UN-AU Mediator, to push forward the political process in Darfur. There was a lot of optimism following the signing in Doha by the Government of the Sudanese National Unity and the Justice and Equality Movement of an agreement of goodwill and trust building. In addition, five other armed factions have signed a convention in Tripoli in which they pledged to get involved in the peace process and join the Darfur peace talks in Doha through a single negotiating delegation and a unified negotiating position. We will carry on our joint efforts supported by the international community to reach a settlement of the conflict in Darfur and prepare suitable conditions for peace.
As for the Iraqi issue, we welcome the efforts by the Iraqi government to restore stability and security throughout Iraq and achieve national reconciliation. We support all initiatives and efforts to consolidate Iraq's unity, entity and territorial integrity. We also welcome the agreement reached in Somalia, election of Sheikh Shareef and formation of the Somali government as positive steps towards peace. We call upon all Somali factions to give priority to national interests and act for Somalia's unity and stability.
In conclusion, I pray to Almighty God to guide us to success, to the good of our nation and to support us to attain our objectives.