qatar and russia back independent investigation in syrias chemical attack
Last Updated : GMT 07:25:12
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Arab Today, arab today
Last Updated : GMT 07:25:12
Arab Today, arab today

Qatar and Russia Back Independent Investigation in Syria's Chemical Attack

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Qatar and Russia Back Independent Investigation in Syria's Chemical Attack

Foreign Minister of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman
Moscow - Arab Today

HE the Foreign Minister of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani agreed with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on holding an independent investigation into the chemical attacks that took place in Khan Sheikhoun in Syria. His Excellency stressed that the perpetrators of crimes in Syria will be brought to justice. HE the Foreign Minister also stressed that Qatar will not contribute to any demographic change in Syria.
In a joint press conference with the Russian Foreign Minister, HE the Foreign Minister of Qatar said that bilateral ties have been seeing significant improvement since the visit of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to the Russian Federation and meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. His Excellency added that there was significant bilateral cooperation in the fields of investment, and oil and gas.
His Excellency said that today's meeting focused on elevating cooperation ties in different fields such as culture, sports, defense and other sectors. HE the Foreign Minister added that the two sides are committed to advancing their relations. HE the Foreign Minister also touched upon cooperation between the GCC and Russia, confirming that Qatar supports these efforts.
His Excellency said that today's meeting also discussed regional issues, led by the Syrian crisis and the attack on Khan Sheikhoun which saw many children get killed. On the crisis, HE the Foreign Minister said that the two sides agree on many points, mainly the importance of maintaining the unity of Syria and putting an end to the suffering of the Syrian people. His Excellency maintained however that Qatar and Russia differ in the means of reaching those goals, but stressed that Qatar will always rely on dialogue to deal with difference in opinion in order to achieve security and stability to the Syrian people as soon as possible and in line with Geneva 1 and UN Security Council no. 2254.
HE the Foreign Minister said that Qatar supports Astana negotiations that are organized by Rissua and Turkey, saying that it will be one of the factors contributing to the success of Geneva negotiations.
HE the Foreign Minister said that the meeting saw the two sides agree on the importance of holding an independent investigation into the chemical attacks that took place in Khan Sheikhoun in Syria. His Excellency said that Qatar supports the effort of the investigation committee and stressed on the importance of its independence when pursuing its mission in areas controlled by either the regime or the opposition. His Excellency noted however that the committee's work will be rendered futile if its outcomes are not implemented. HE the Foreign Minister also stressed that the horrific scenes in Khan Sheikhoun cannot be replicated, and not punishing the perpetrators will be a gateway to repeating similar attacks in the future. 
HE the Foreign Minister stressed the State of Qatar's condemnation to all criminal and terrorist acts, noting that there were important measures that need to be taken to separate moderate Syrian opposition and terrorist organizations. Some of those measures according to HE the Foreign include providing a suitable environment for political solution, ensuring the security of moderate opposition and providing them with an environment were they can express opposition moderately with a complete separation from terrorist organizations. HE the Foreign Minister stressed that the Syrian people and the opposition will be the strongest weapon against terrorism. 
On the four cities relief agreement in Syria, HE the Foreign Minister said the agreement was humanitarian in nature and began since 2015. His Excellency noted that there were 65000 civilians from different ethnicities and sects put under siege. His Excellency stressed that all Syrians are looked at as civilians suffering from the siege and hunger. His Excellency noted that such agreements usually face many obstacles and almost always require a mediator to broker a deal. His Excellency also noted that there were many similar agreements in the past that didn't achieve the level of success hoped for. HE the Foreign Minister said there was progress made in the current agreement despite the obstacles placed by the two sides, but stressed that they will continue mediation efforts to resolve any issues. 
HE the Foreign Minister highlighted that Qatar would never contribute to any demographic change in Syria. His Excellency stressed that Qatar would never work on destroying or changing any way Syria's social fabric that has been known throughout its history. His Excellency said that the option for families to leave certain areas is merely optional and they can elect to stay. His Excellency added that there was a humanitarian situation as a result of the siege that required the constant passage of humanitarian assistance and releasing of prisoners in the regime's jails, on the condition that the majority of them be women. HE the Foreign Minister added that the conditions of the agreement go beyond a narrow interpretation of demographic change and said that Qatar's intention as a mediator was to provide humanitarian assistance and help establish peace. His Excellency noted that Qatar, in the four towns agreement, provided differing parties a platform for dialogue. 
The meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister also discussed developments in Yemen, Libya and Palestine, HE the Foreign Minister said. On Libya, HE the Foreign Minister stressed Qatar's support to Al Sukhairat agreement and the Government of National Accord. His Excellency called on parties attempting to disrupt the agreement to leave behind their narrow interest and support the agreement and the government to realize the aspirations of the Libyan people. 
On the Palestinian issue, His Excellency said that Qatar supports peace talks based on the two-state solution and international resolutions. HE the Foreign Minister also praised Russia's support of the Palestinian people and said there were joint efforts in achieving a Palestinian reconciliation. His Excellency said that those efforts were joint in the sense that they lead to the Palestinian national unity, despite these efforts being separate.
For his part, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said that he agrees with HE the Foreign Minister on the importance of finding a political resolution to the Syrian crisis quickly. He described the U.S. airstrike on Al-Shuairat airfield was against the law and added that Russia insists on holding an independent investigation into the chemical attack in Syria. 
The Russian Foreign Minister added that his country and Qatar are united by their position regarding the urgency of implementing a ceasefire in Russia as well as counter-terrorism and reaching a political resolution to the crisis in line with UN Security Council resolutions. Lavrov added that he discussed the Astana talks with HE the Foreign Minister, who said for his part that Qatar supports these talks. 
Lavrov also said that there were continuous talks between the State of Qatar and Russia on the urgent issues in the Middle-East, led by the Syrian crisis as well as Libya, Yemen, and Palestine. He noted that the two sides agree on resolving all these crises peacefully. 
On bilateral ties, the Minister said that the two sides agreed on the importance of enhancing economic ties and examining the methods to do so during the upcoming joint governmental committee meeting, which will take place in Doha at the end of the current month. 
Lavrov said that there were further plans to increase investment between Qatar Investment Authority and Russia's Direct Investment Fund, after the former invested in Rosneft. The Russian Foreign Minister pointed out that the two sides have had a lot of success in the energy field and in holding dialogue with oil producers from OPEC and outside of it. 
The Russian Foreign Minister then discussed the two sides' agreement on cooperating when they host World Cup 2018 and 2022 in Russia and Qatar respectively. 
In concluding the press conference, HE the Foreign Minister of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani expressed hope that today's meeting would help strengthening bilateral ties. His Excellency also expressed Qatar's hope of cooperating with Russia in dealing with regional issues and guaranteeing peace in the Middle-East. 

Source: QNA

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