HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Than
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, and French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian at the news conference.


Qatar and France on Thursday called for addressing disputes using diplomatic means as they underlined the strength and durability of bilateral relations and their historic partnership.
At a news conference, HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, and French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian stressed the need to resolve disputes through diplomacy and combat everything that threatens peace and stability in the region and the world, rejecting extremism, combating terrorism, and standing up to all forms of racist and exclusionary discourse in the world.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said the Qatari and French sides exchanged views during their meeting yesterday on common issues in the region, especially developments in resolving the Gulf crisis, developments in Lebanon, Libya and several other countries in the region as well as the importance of strengthening bilateral relations, issues of violent extremism and terrorism, and ways to combat the phenomenon that threatens humanity.
He affirmed Qatar’s belief in the need to address the root causes of terrorism and extremism, which he attributed to social and economic causes, fuelled by other extremist ideologies.
He also called for systematically looking at this phenomenon and statistics, away from stereotypical and superficial impressions and polarised media, and what it tries to portray in this regard, pointing out that an objective view of violent extremism issues shows that this phenomenon is not related to any religion or race, stressing that Islamic religion and the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) are not symbols of extremism.
In this context, he said, “We affirm that the tolerant Islamic religion and the Prophet of Islam (PBUH), are not symbols of extremism, but rather they have established an important human civilisation that has made many contributions to humanity, and therefore, the discourse that nurtures Islamophobia we must stand before it firmly as the world stands before all forms of racist and exclusionary discourse of the other.
He expressed concern about the state of polarisation around the world and said that one of the troubling issues is the boundaries between freedom of expression and hate speech and incitement.
He added in Qatar, “We will continue to search for common spaces to build upon, and for peaceful means to resolve conflicts through diplomacy, building bridges of dialogue and spreading the values of peace and mutual respect among countries, peoples and all civilisations”.
He appreciated Le Drian’s current visit to Qatar, stressing its importance in developing relations between the two countries, and expressed his aspiration to develop them to broader horizons.
The French minister described his discussions in Doha as frank, friendly and close, and said the Qatari and French sides discussed a number of regional files, stressing that these meetings would allow the two friendly countries to co-ordinate in various fields.
He pointed out that this is his 20th visit to Qatar, where talks will be held about bilateral relations and ways to develop them. He said that at the regional level, the Qatari and French sides dealt with the main crises of mutual interest and the Libyan crisis, and affirmed their commitment to strengthen co-operation and co-ordination and make concerted efforts to support the political transition process there, led by the United Nations, leading to the elections next year.
The visiting minister added that the regional situation in general, and the efforts exerted to reach a permanent and final solution to the existing crisis between some countries of the GCC, were touched upon, and stressed that France really wishes to reach an agreement for a permanent reconciliation.
He said during his current visit to Doha, he will meet with the Minister of Transport and Communications, the Secretary-General of the Qatar Tourism Council and the CEO of Qatar Airways Group to thank them for their support during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which allowed the repatriation of French citizens to their homeland and the transfer of medical equipment.
Le Drian noted that his visit to Qatar a week before celebrating its National Day demonstrates and confirms the strength of the bilateral relations.
He stressed that Qatar is a historic partner of France, with which it is keen to maintain a close dialogue, and to strengthen its relations in all issues of common interest.
Qatar and France, he said, are keen to combat everything that threatens peace and stability in the region and the world, pointing to the heinous terrorist operations that his country has been exposed to recently, and said that Qatar has expressed its solidarity with the French people, and we thank Qatar for that.
The visiting minister pointed out that the French statements and positions in this regard had been distorted and exploited within the framework of a campaign targeting France, explaining in this regard also that these statements may have been misunderstood, and that France has very deep respect for Islam and Muslims are an integral part of the country’s history and society, and they live under the protection of the law.
Le Drian went on to say that France “is only fighting against extremism and radicalism, and against terrorism that strikes everywhere, France and Europe, including the countries of this region, and this is a battle France is fighting with a number of countries, and this is its only battle”.
He thanked Qatar for the warm reception, explaining that his visit also aims to reaffirm the will of the two countries to deepen their bilateral relations in various fields, especially since they have a long and fruitful history of co-operation in the security, economic and cultural fields, in addition to the strategic dialogue they hold annually, considering that it is a completely appropriate framework that the two sides are keen to enrich and enhance in order to deepen their exchanges, including the most sensitive issues within the framework of frankness and the very great trust between them.
In a related context, he expressed his happiness at the Qatar-France Year of Culture, which allowed the French to get acquainted with the Qatari culture, and for the Qataris to get acquainted with the French culture as well.
He vowed to win the battle against extremism in terms of ideas, and face it with openness and tolerance, saying this is what Qatar and France will continue to do together as they aspire to develop ideal co-operation in the field of sports as well.
The visiting minister pointed out that the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the first to be held in the Arab world, will be an opportunity for Qatar to demonstrate its capabilities in receiving and organising such a global sporting event, adding that since France will host the Olympic Games in 2024.
“This will naturally lead us to strengthen our co-operation, and we are happy to share with Qatar our experience in organizing major sporting events and work together to make these two events successful,” he drove home.