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Sheikh Tamim at UN General Assembly

The ongoing blockade against Qatar is “an assault against a sovereign state” and a form of terrorism, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said during his address to the United Nations General Assembly today.

His remarks come as Qatar faces a months-long blockade from its neighbors that has cost the government billions of dollars.

The Emir said the boycott of “neighboring countries” puts pressure on Qatar’s population “through foodstuffs, medicine and ripping of family relations.”

The Qatar Insider

For illustrative purposes only.

He added that the goal is “to force (people) to change their political affiliation and destabilize a sovereign country. Isn’t this one of the definitions of terrorism?”

At least twice during the speech, the Emir also called for a constructive dialogue between the Gulf countries and Iran to resolve the crisis.

The conditions he put forth included “the principle of good neighborliness, respect for the sovereignty of states and non-interference in their internal affairs.”

Responding to neighbors’ allegations that Qatar harbors terrorists, Sheikh Tamim also reiterated the country’s desire to combat extremism, calling it the “highest priority.”

He added however that the international community must be “careful not to make the fight against terrorism an umbrella for reprisals or shelling of civilians.”

Safe haven

This is the Emir’s fourth address in front of the assembly.

His first was shortly after he became leader of Qatar at 33 years old in 2013. The speech included talk of the Arab Spring and Qatar’s role in it.

Omar Chatriwala / Doha News

February 2012 protest against Syrian president Bashar Al Assad.

At the time, Sheikh Tamim said the nation served as a “hub for dialogue and discussion for different parties and conflicts” during a transitional phase for the region.

The Emir reiterated that goal – which Qatar has been criticized for by its neighbors  – once again during today’s address. He said:

“Qatar will remain, as always, a safe haven for the oppressed, and will continue its mediation efforts to find just solutions in conflict zones. “

In addition to the Gulf crisis, the Emir mentioned the plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar.

“Lately there is a growing sense that people under repression are facing their fate alone,” he said.

He also urged the international community to help struggling Palestinians, Yemenis and Syrians, as well as Iraqis and Libyans.

Here’s the full unofficial translation of the Emir’s remarks, as posted by the UN.

Thoughts?

QNA

Qatar’s Emir

After 100 days of staying inside of Qatar, the Emir has embarked on a multi-country tour to bolster international support for his nation.

Following a visit to Turkey yesterday, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani will meet with Germany’s president in Berlin today, QNA reports.

He will then head to France to meet its leader and discuss the ongoing Gulf dispute.

White House

Sheikh Tamim meets with Donald Trump in Riyadh in May.

Next week, Sheikh Tamim is also scheduled to meet with US President Donald Trump stateside, the National reports.

International support

Qatar has been under siege since Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and economic ties in June.

They allege that Qatar finances terrorism, which authorities deny, and have demanded the government fall into line with their foreign policy vision.

Ministry of Defense

Turkish troops arrive in Qatar over the summer.

Qatar has so far refused to acquiesce to stipulations that include closing Al Jazeera, distancing itself from Iran and shutting down a Turkish military base in Doha.

While other Qatari officials have flown around the world this summer to garner support for the nation, the Emir initially remained at home.

The move was to presumably protect his power, amid Saudi Arabia’s support for a new Qatari leader.

Now however, analysts theorize that Qatar may be hoping to break the stalemate with the help of international pressure from mutual allies.

Thoughts?

QNA

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan in 2016

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani will head to Turkey this week to meet the country’s president, in his first overseas trip since the Gulf dispute started.

The visit was announced by Turkey, which will also host Kuwait’s Emir at the same time.

Turkey is a key ally of Qatar’s, and the two nations have grown even closer this summer amid the ongoing Gulf crisis.

Al Meera

Turkish dairy products

Ankara has supported Doha with food imports. It also sped up the deployment of Turkish troops to the country, as per a 2014 military agreement.

President Recep Erdogan has also pushed for a resolution to the Gulf dispute, saying it “is not in anyone’s interests” to continue it.

Travel plans

It’s been more than 100 days since Qatar’s neighbors instituted an air, sea and land blockade against the nation for political reasons.

There has been little progress in resolving the dispute, despite mediation efforts from Kuwait and the US.

Qatari officials including the foreign minister have been traveling all over the world to bolster support for their side.

Pearl-Qatar/Twitter

Images of support for Qatar\’s Emir at the Pearl

But the Emir has so far stayed put amid Saudi Arabia’s support of a new leader in Qatar.

The strategy appeared to be a wise one. In the past 50 years, two of Qatar’s Emirs have been overthrown while traveling overseas, including the Emir’s own grandfather.

Sheikh Tamim is also reportedly expected to travel a bit farther next week, to attend the annual UN General Assembly in New York.

Thoughts?