Syria chemical attack: Qatar and Russia agree on probe
16 Apr 2017 - 1:48
Moscow: Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani yesterday agreed with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on holding an independent investigation into the chemical attacks that took place in Khan Sheikhoun in Syria.
The Foreign Minister said that the perpetrators of crimes in Syria will be brought to justice. He added that Qatar will not contribute to any demographic change in Syria.
In a joint press conference with Lavrov during his visit to Russia, the Foreign Minister said that bilateral ties have seen significant improvement since the visit of Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to the Russian Federation and meetin:g with President Vladimir Putin. He added that there was significant bilateral cooperation in the fields of investment and oil and gas.
The Foreign Minister said that yesterday’s meeting focused on strengthening ties in different fields such as culture, sports, defence and other sectors. He said that the meeting also discussed regional issues, on the top of it the Syrian crisis and the attack on Khan Sheikhoun which saw many children get killed.
On the crisis, the Foreign Minister said that the two sides agreed on many points, mainly the importance of maintaining the unity of Syria and putting an end to the suffering of the Syrian people.
He, however, maintained that Qatar and Russia differ in the means of reaching those goals, saying 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.
Qatar supports Astana talks for peace: FM
The Foreign Minister said that Qatar supports Astana negotiations that are organised by Russia and Turkey, adding that it will be one of the factors contributing to the success of Geneva negotiations.
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, said the Foreign Minister.
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.
He, however, noted that the committee's work will be rendered futile if its outcomes are not implemented. The Foreign Minister reiterated Qatar's condemnation of 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 include providing a suitable environment for political solution, ensuring the security of moderate opposition and providing them with an environment where they can express opposition moderately with a complete separation from terrorist organizations. .
On the four cities relief agreement in Syria, the Foreign Minister said the agreement was humanitarian in nature and began since 2015. Such agreements usually face many obstacles and almost always require a mediator to broker a deal.
He added that 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.
The Foreign Minister said that Qatar will never contribute to any demographic change in Syria not work on destroying or changing Syria's social fabric that has been known throughout its history.
The conditions of the agreement go beyond a narrow interpretation of demographic change, said the Foreign Minister, stressing that Qatar's intention as a mediator was to provide humanitarian assistance and help establish peace.
The Foreign Minister said that during his meeting with his Russian counterpart he also also discussed developments in Yemen, Libya and Palestine.
On Libya, Foreign Minister stressed Qatar's support to Al Sukhairat agreement and the Government of National Accord. He 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, The Foreign Minister said that Qatar supports peace talks based on the two-state solution and international resolutions.
He praised Russia's support of the Palestinian people and said there were joint efforts in achieving a Palestinian reconciliation.