Qatar, Turkish FMs reiterate strong ties and urge the international community to engage with the Taliban to facilitate aid to Afghans.
Doha, Qatar – Qatar’s foreign minister has reiterated his country’s stance on tackling the situation in Afghanistan, saying Doha will continue to work to strengthen humanitarian and economic efforts in the war-torn country.
At a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart in Qatar’s capital Doha on Monday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said Qatar would work with allied Turkey and Taliban officials to ensure that Kabul International Airport, the site of chaotic scenes following the Taliban’s takeover, continues. to function.
Sheikh Mohammed spoke to journalists along with Turkey’s FM Mevlut Cavusoglu after the couple met as part of the seventh annual Qatar-Turkey strategic dialogue.
The two-day meeting, co-chaired by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is expected to end with the signing of at least 12 MoUs on Tuesday across various areas, including the military. , health, tourism, and education sectors, among others.
Cavusoglu said Turkey was seeking to work for “peace and stability” in Afghanistan, urging the international community to enter into dialogue with the Taliban and urging them to “differentiate” between the political and humanitarian side of things.
“This is what we have done, as Afghans have an urgent need for humanitarian aid,” he said, adding that Turkey is cooperating with Qatar to offer humanitarian aid and to ensure that Kabul airport remains open.
Qatar and Turkey have a strong and strategic relationship on a political, economic and military level.
The Supreme Strategic Committee was set up in 2014 to strengthen relations between the two countries.
On Monday, the two ministers reaffirmed their strong ties and told reporters that they had reviewed various regional and international issues and discussed steps that would strengthen relations.
Among the regional issues discussed was the ongoing conflict in Libya, where Qatar and Turkey supported the UN-recognized government in the western part of the country.
The two officials also discussed the war in Syria, saying there is an urgent need for a “political solution” before Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government can be invited to rejoin the Arab League.
There is “no point” in normalizing ties with Syria without first taking serious steps toward a “political solution,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
“I do not think we are able to offer him [Assad] a free pass to get to the Arab League, ”he said, a statement that Cavusoglu agreed with.
The absence of a political solution will “encourage this regime to continue its aggression against Idlib,” he said, referring to the last rebel-held enclave in northwestern Syria on the border with Turkey – which supports several opposition groups.
A key example of the two countries’ strong ties is the presence of a Turkish military base in Qatar, which houses about 5,000 soldiers.
In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a land, air and sea blockade on Qatar. At the time, Erdogan called the military base “the symbol of brotherhood, friendship, solidarity and sincerity”.
Turkey stepped up exports of key goods to Qatar during the blockade to replace products that used to come through the border with Saudi Arabia or through the UAE’s Jebel Ali Port.
The seventh annual meeting comes at a time when Turkey is trying to strengthen its role in the region, and in the midst of an economic crisis that has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Erdogan is expected to visit the United Arab Emirates in February next year and has said in recent weeks that Ankara plans to revive relations with Egypt and Saudi Arabia.