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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Qatar ‘open’ to mediating between Hamas, US: Lolwah Al Khater


Qatar has been a key mediator between regional rivals with the aim to achieve peace and stability across the Middle East and North Africa.

Doha is willing to act as a mediator between Hamas and the United States to ensure regional and global stability, Qatar’s assistant foreign minister, Lolwah Al-Khater told Russian state media outlet Sputnik.

“Qatar is open to mediation when asked, out of the belief in the importance of mediation efforts for peace and international stability,” Al-Khater said, responding to questions on a possible Qatari role in resolving the long-term dispute.

In an earlier interview with Sky News, the Qatari official echoed her country’s position on the Palestine-Israel dispute calling on international leaders to reconsider their “unconditional support” for Israel after the occupying state launched deadly and non-discriminatory attacks on indigenous Palestinians.

In recent years, Qatar has established itself as a regional heavyweight due to its success in mediating between conflicting parties in the MENA and wider region.

Read also: ‘It’s not Israel-Hamas’: Qatar’s Lolwah Al-Khater takes aim at ethnic cleansing of Palestine

In May, Qatar and Egypt-brokered ceasefire in Gaza was implemented, a crucial move that ended an 11-day Israeli bombardment that killed 248 Palestinians including 66 children.

When asked about the ceasefire in a previous interview, Al Khater added that “we have to remain optimistic” that it will hold.  However, it is important to pinpoint the root causes of the issue, which started with Israel forcing Palestinians out of Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in what is described as “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinian people, she said.

“Let me remind everyone that the problem is not Israel-Hamas. It’s basically the struggle of the Palestinian people for the past 73 years. We’re talking about stateless people and in Gaza alone. There are 2 million people who are living in an open-air prison, but we’re also talking about many other millions who are refugees,” Al-Khater said.

“And we’re talking about Oslo that was never fulfilled, not because of the Palestinians. Let’s remember that the two leaders who signed Oslo were finished not by the Palestinians. One of them was assassinated by an Israeli fanatic. The other one died under siege after three years of siege. That was Yasser Arafat. So, once again, we need to address this issue holistically.”

Mediating success

Last year, the Gulf state led talks that paved the way to an American-Taliban peace arrangement. Now, Doha is hosting similar negotiations between the the Taliban and Afghanistan’s government.

It is also currently facilitating talks to revive an Iran nuclear deal that was left in tatters following a US withdrawal in 2018.

However, speaking on its role in resolving tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the leading Qatari official said Doha has not been approached on facilitating talks between the two rivals.

Despite this, Al Khater confirmed Qatar “welcomes” the idea, stressing that dialogue with Iran is important to establish “peaceful coexistence in the region that takes into account the concerns of the Gulf and Arab countries.

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