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Enriching the Middle east's Future Conference closes. Date is set next year for the 13th edition.      
     

His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, opens the Doha Forum

Welcoming speech by His Excellency Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabr Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
 
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HH the Emir Opens Doha Forum and Enriching the Future Conference
2012-05-20

HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani opened the 12th Doha Forum and Enriching the Middle East's Economic Future Conference at the Doha Sheraton Hotel on Sunday morning.
The opening was attended by HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani, HE the Chairman of the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, a number of Their Excellencies Sheikhs, the Speaker of the Advisory Council and Ministers, as well as heads of the diplomatic missions accredited to the country and guests.
HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani opened the 12th Doha Forum by welcoming the participants and stressing the importance of this session as it comes at a crucial and decisive stage in the history of the Arab nation and amid many regional and international developments.
HH the Emir noted that many of the events which are currently taking place in the Arab region and around the world had already been issues listed on the agendas of the previous sessions of this Forum.
For example, HH the Emir explained, since the 4th session of Doha Forum in 2004, the forum has called to begin reforms in the region. If those calls have not found deaf ear, the history of the region would have taken different paths over the past year.
HH the Emir said that the Arab freedom uprising were preceded by a complete rigidity and ineffective policies and public anger. Some people had ignored these indicators to be then surprised by revolutions that exploded to announce a historic and unprecedented transformation.
Arab uprising won or they are on their way to victory, HH the Emir noted, yet expressed regret for the precious blood of innocents which shed and is still flowing because some regimes are still rejecting the immediate reform.
HH the Emir underlined that the Arab peoples arose to restore their freedom and dignity. He believed that they will be the bond upon which the system of regional relations will be build over the coming years.
The Arab public opinion seeks freedom of citizens as well as countries. Palestine is the last Arab homeland that has not been given its freedom till the day, and it is time to earn it, HH the Emir said.
HH the Emir believed that it is a mistake to leave the Palestinian issue pending on the international agenda, noting that the will of the Arab people will not allow that anymore. HH the Emir called on Israel to take a positive step for peace and coexistence.
HH the Emir highlighted that the Arab spring must be accompanied by a spring for a just peace in the Middle East, noting that the Arab people will not forget Palestine or thousands of the Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails or the besieged people in Gaza and others.
Therefore, Israeli must adhere to the rules of international law, recognize the legitimate Arab rights of the Palestinian people, withdraw from the Syrian Golan and Lebanese Shebaa Farms and refrain from practices that prevent the achievement of a just peace in the future, such as building settlements and the Judaization of Jerusalem, otherwise, it will miss the chance for peace because the rising generation of the Arab peoples will not accept injustice or occupation.
HH the Emir reviewed the political developments in Israel during the last days, during which the Israeli Prime Minister was able to form the largest and most powerful government coalition in Israel's history. By doing so, the Israeli Prime Minister himself dropped the Israeli argument that the fragility of the coalition government does not allow flexibility or make any compromises. The Israeli Prime Minister is now required to make a long-awaited step towards achieving peace that is based on the cessation of settlement, the 1967 borders, and the two-state solution, HH the Emir said.
Israel can not rely anymore on its friendship with rulers who were overthrew by the Arab spring revolutions, and it should not be betting on others against its own people and the overall opinion, because in this case Israel will find itself with no friends at all, HH the Emir said.
HH the Emir went on going that Arab Spring also sought to restore the peoples economic and social rights, not only their political ones. Deprivation was one of the main reasons that sparked the Arab spring revolutions. It will soon be clear that transition to democracy cannot be separated from development policies, bridge the gap between the rich and the poor and create a favorable economic conditions to expand the middle class.
HH the Emir underlined that transition to democracy has a number of challenges:
First: There are a lot of complex economic problems that require long time or that may be hard to solve once such as low economic growth, high rates of unemployment and low productivity. People should be engaged to understand the difficulties with complete transparency in order to make it clear what can be processed immediately and what would need time and what are the priorities.
Second: The political freedom, which is the foundation of democracy, does not necessarily lead to economic justice if not accompanied by social and humanitarian development and fair social policies.
Third: Unemployment and re-evaluation of education systems must be given the utmost importance. Unemployment is one of the most important factors that can undermine social stability. It deprives the worker of his income, and negatively affect his self-esteem and may lead to frustration or anger and rebellion.
Fourth: The ultimate objective should be the sustainable development, which include achieving its economic, social, human and environmental objectives.
HH the Emir also noted the challenges of achieving the Millennium Development Goals in developing countries, saying that achieving most of these goals by 2015 became elusive in poorer countries. This applies to the goals associated with securing sanitation and the provision of safe drinking water, primary education for all, the protection of biodiversity, the reduction of mortality rate of children under five, women's empowerment and reducing the number of undernourished people in the world.
The food and economic crises have played a major role in increasing the food shortage situation and deepened poverty in the poorest countries. The economic crisis led to a decline in direct investments and declining exports of these countries. Even official aid to these countries, which did not fall during the economic downturn, has fallen in 2011. This phenomenon is a cause for concern especially if the downward trend continued in, HH the Emir said.
HH the Emir noted that the State of Qatar has doubled its government aid in 2011 compared to 2010. The aid reached $ 730 million during last year. The government and non-governmental aid in this year estimated at about $ 990 million and this does not include the aid provided by some government agencies. HH the Emir urged all donor countries to work on approaching the official aid of 7 per thousand of gross national income ratio which is suggested by the United Nations.
HH the Emir underlined that the Millennium Development Goals should be achieved despite the expected delay, adding that additional development objectives should be formulated to take into account the new events and developments and the significant differences between members of the same country.
Concluding, HH the Emir underlined that Doha Forum will remain a platform for exchanging opinions about regional and international developments and proposing anything that would promote democracy, development and free trade.

QNA