It has been three years since the unjust siege was imposed on Qatar by its neighbouring countries. The challenge was to turn it into a story of resilience and perseverance that the world can applaud and take inspiration from.
The diplomatic community in Doha has always been appreciative of the indigenous response and positive attitude of Qatar while tackling uninvited trouble. On the eve of the third anniversary of blockade, Community got in touch with some ambassadors and former ambassadors asking for their views on how Qatar has dealt with the siege so far.
Carlos Alberto Hernandez, Ambassador of Argentina to Qatar, has been a very active figure since he came to this country. He is all praise for Qatar’s positive attitude and turning the difficult challenge into an opportunity.
Ambassador Carlos expresses his dismay on continuous unjust blockade of Qatar saying the unity of Gulf countries is necessary for the region. “We all agree that the strategic importance of the Gulf region requires sustainable regional security to ensure long term stability.”
The ambassador, however, lauds the responsible behaviour shown by Qatar. “Despite the first few negative effects, the wise guidance of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, his calm and decisive approach positioned the country in a way to overcome the situation and at the same time steadily move towards achieving the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030 with solid and notable progress.
“Qatar is on the winning side, the expansion of its economy is remarkable, the reforms made to attract foreign capital. The country has become self-sufficient in food sector.”
He added: “I would like to emphasise that the Qatari position regarding the blockade is the same followed by Argentina in equivalent matters, which means unconditional dialogue based on mutual respect. No doubt this blockade has been a traumatic experience for families mostly separated because of it, but feeling as part of the Qatari people here, I can also see how it brought all nationals and residents, together.”
Faizel Moosa, Ambassador of South Africa to Qatar, calls Qatar a resilient nation with forward thinking leadership. “It is my belief that under the energetic leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani Qatar has weathered the storm. The blockading countries completely miscalculated the determination and resilience of this small nation.
“Today we see a Qatar that has established itself as a sovereign independent state with a very independent foreign policy and a very independent economy. The milestones in its foreign policy achievements in my view is the fact that they were seen as reliable mediators in the 18-year-long war between the Taliban and the United States with a successful de-escalation agreement signed in Doha recently.”
He added: “On the economic front Qatar has also shown its strength, almost all countries around the world wanting to do business with Qatar. In fact the blockade allowed Qatar to come into its own space internationally and become a force to be reckoned with. The determination shown by Qatar during hard times can be a good example for other nations. There has been many success stories since blockade such as Baladna food company and Qatar Airways.
The ambassador hopes that the blockade ends soon as stable GCC is essential for the world’s energy security. “I am confident that we will see a united GCC in the near future again as all stakeholders come to the realisation that the blockade has not delivered the intended results and that lifting the blockade would be in the benefit of all involved and will result in mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty.
“In South Africa, we always advocate peace and prosperity in the spirit of our founding father Nelson Mandela. He took a nation from the brink of civil war and total self-destruction to being a nation that was admired by the world for its ability to have a peaceful transition to democracy.”
Oreste del Rio Sandoval, former ambassador of Panama to Qatar, has written a book Warriors in Times of Sacrifice during his stay here as the ambassador. The book speaks about the resilience of Qatar during blockade.
Oreste has become great admirer of the resilience shown by Qatar. “I will never forget that June 5, 2017 the day when families were separated. Today, after three years, we have witnessed that the blockade has very different effects. It has opened new bridges and new routes of prosperity. The resolute leadership has converted a storm into a flourishing opportunity.”
He added: “As I have mentioned in my book Warriors in Times of Sacrifice, the leadership and wisdom of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has forged an historical and indestructible bond between all citizens and residents of Qatar with the country, inspiring us to never stop dreaming, surely the future will keep getting brighter.”
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