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3rd Doha Forum on Democracy , Development & Free Trade (14-15 April,2003)


His Highness Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar inaugurated the conference.
H.H. said addressing the forum: (The convening of this conference under the critical circumstances, through which our region is passing, is clear evidence of the importance we attach to the vital issues that will be discussed in its sessions.
We regard democracy and responsible popular participation in decision making and the running of state affairs as a pre-requisite for the development of our countries and societies and setting the role of the constitutional, political and legal institutions needed for building the state which is capable of addressing the requirements of the contemporary world and future challenges.
At the same time, we believe that the economic openness, encouragement of the private sector and investments, updating the educational systems as well as strengthening the bonds of cultural and civilization exchange and interaction between peoples and nations, constitute, on their part, necessary foundations for the realization of the objectives of the development, modernization and progress we aspire. Political democracy and economic and social democracy are, in our view, inseparable twins. Indeed, they are the indispensable means for the process of development and prosperity we seek, and work for…
The problems our region is suffering from are not limited to political and security aspects; but there are other challenges and difficulties, which we have to tackle in the economic, social and environmental fields.
These are of no less significance and impact than regional conflicts in terms of  their negative repercussions. Indeed, poverty, unemployment, social and cultural backwardness, decline of standards of education and vocational training, mismanagement, poor economic performance, lack and disparity of job opportunities, all of which form sources of threat that cannot be ignored.
Furthermore, they represent major obstacles which impede the attainment of progress and development. It is no longer possible to put aside these difficult economic and social conditions without according due attention to them, but it has rather become urgent and imperative to find out plans and programs that guarantee reaching effective and quick solutions to them….).

His Excellency Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani, the First Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister addressed the forum.
H.E said (The third in the series of conferences organized by Qatar on democracy and free trade is rather special. It was held at a determining moment and at an exciting stage in the history of the Arab region, I would not be exaggerating if I were to say in the history of the world system: the events of the Iraqi war had reached their peak and all were waiting to see how things would go.
When the conference was convened under the aegis of his Highness Sheikh Hamad Ben Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of the land, in the presence of such a great group of intellectuals and politicians from different countries and of different orientations, I was certain it would be indeed a very special conference. Looking at this elite gathering, I expected the debate would be at the highest level and in keeping with the importance of the moment and the seriousness of its events. This also makes me more convinced than ever of the importance for Qatar’s political and economic orientations to continue towards democracy and free trade, so that it can play its role at both regional and global levels).

Throughout its sessions, the Conference discussed the two issues of democracy and free trade as a general starting point from which stemmed several closely related topics. The angle from which democracy was approached was widened so as to include religion, education, institutions, human rights and information. As for the issue of free trade, it encompassed open markets, sustainable development and economic institutions.
All the debates took into consideration the regional and international conditions,
concentrating first and foremost on the present and future concerns of the Arab region, particularly the events in Iraq, the Arab-Israeli conflict and the stand against terrorism in the light of the ongoing changes in the international order and the aims of world strategies in the region.
The preparatory working paper for the Conference greatly contributed to drawing the main lines of approach to the issues and problems to be discussed.
The presentations of the main speakers during the sessions were of a high level in terms of the information, ideas and views on the subjects.
Equally important were the addresses at the opening session by speakers belonging to national, regional and international institutions, whose role and importance in these fields are well known.
The discussions of the participants played a positive role in enriching the dialogue with their depth and courage.

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4th Doha Forum on Democracy , Development & Free Trade (5-6 April,2004)

The Conference was held on the 5th and 6th of April 2004 in Doha. It was inaugurated by His Royal Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani,Emir of the State of Qatar in the presence of about (500) participants representing several official academic, research, information and cultural circles in different parts of the world in addition to the representatives of some international and regional organizations and bodies.

The work of the Conference was completed in the course of (10)sessions. The responsibility of organizing and moderating each of these sessions was given fully to a specific institution in a manner that will be explained later. In the course of the meetings several working papers were presented by the panelists to the tune of (52) papers. The discussions amongst the participants concentrated on the papers. There were (71) observations and the panelists also contributed approximately (36) comments.

Dealt with the issue of: “Education and its role in promoting the march of The first topic democracy”. The session was organized and chaired by: “The University of Qatar and the Gulf Institute for Studies”; the discussion dealt with the responsibility of education in the Arab Region for the state of democracy therein. Two main orientations emerged from the different opinions expressed, one of which was to consider education in our region fully responsible, since it does not contain nor adopt a culture of democracy in the required manner but rather basic elements obstructing democracy.
The other main orientation considered Arab education innocent of such a charge and rather a victim of the official Arab political and social order. The session witnessed the expression of several views by the panelists, as well as by the participants concerning the basis for the reform of education and the external role to be played to achieve that, as well as the impact of religious thought in this particular area.
They also discussed the Qatari experience in the field of the development of education.
Another topic discussed is: “The importance of culture in economic development and democratic awareness”. This discussion was organized and chaired by: “The Arab Press Club in France” and it stressed the fact that the cultural element has become the main promoter of political dynamics in the world. The discussion concluded that democratic salvation cannot be achieved without full freedom of cultural and epistemological choice. The discussions also expressed concern over the situation of Arab reality and the deterioration there of, all of which require immediate reform. They also discussed the fact that Arab political culture is relatively receding at
all levels and is facing many challenges (the culture of simplified dualities- the culture of all or nothing - the culture of the fear of the other- and the culture of plots). Also, the possibility of seeing the West attempt to impose a ready-made culture and global criteria ready for implementation or application.
That is why some of the participants warned against the disregard for the increasing separation between the Arabs and the Islamic world because of cultural misunderstanding. Others called upon culture to wage the battle of development and democracy provided it would not give priority to material wealth at the expense of the higher values of humanity; they also called upon culture not to
disregard or forget the political and cultural sovereignty of the peoples. Moreover the issue of
secularization also elicited a very lively discussion between the panelists and the participants.

The third topic of discussion was devoted to “The role of economic development in enhancing and promoting democracy”. It was organized and chaired by “The Council for Foreign Relations in the U.S”. One intervention dealt with the main pillars of economic development (education- political and economic empowerment of women in society- transparency- respect for personal rights and the sovereignty of law- the role of the international community- and active civil society). Another presentation dealt with the issue of state security and democracy, while a third concentrated on the importance of the role of women in achieving economic development, stating three basic elements, the education of girls -controlled of women over economic resources and the participation of the feminine labour force. Yet, another working paper dealt with the issue of generating concentrated wealth and the importance of "risk capital”.
These presentations elicited very extensive dialogue and discussions between the participants and the panelists, particularly underlining the objection of some to what had been said about "risk capital” and the role of banks concerning the working capital. The question of alternative sources of energy was also fully discussed, as well as the establishment of a development bank for the Middle East were of particular interest to all the participants.
organized and moderated the session devoted to
“The Arab Organization for Human Rights”. The main discussing the issue of: “Transition in the Arab World, issues and problematics”speakers, i.e . the panelists dealt with the state of democracy in the Arab Region, the projects and
initiatives for reform from within and from outside the region at the present moment, all of which creates a very difficult situation for Arab governments.
Others discussed those external projects particularly, the American project and the fact that it is surrounded with an aura of suspicion because of its several inherent errors, in addition to the several existing confrontations in the region particularly in view of the ongoing Israeli- Palestinian conflict and the fact that they represent obstacles hampering the establishment of the bases of
democracy.
Some other participants dealt particularly with the steps adopted by the state of Qatar on the path of democracy in the course of the past years. The presentations elicited very lively discussions in the hall between two main lines of thought, one objecting to the import or the imposition of democracy from outside, and rejecting the idea of those who come to the region in order to teach us democracy.
The other line of thought considered that the world has become practically a cosmic "flat" and not a cosmic village, which makes it necessary for the inhabitants of that "flat" to stand up, by force if necessary to any attempts to destroy the facilities of the "flat" by other inhabitants.

The fifth topic dealt with: “The impact of crises and instability on the development of democracy in the Middle East”. The session dealing with this topic was organized and moderated ”. One of panelists spoke of the role by: “The Westminster Institution for Democracy in the U.Kof that institution in helping enhance democracy and its experience in this respect.

Another speaker dealt with the impact of external crises on the state, with regard to the economic losses it causes or with regard to the fact that such crises may lead to reducing the scope of democracy within the country on the pretext of the need to deal with external threat.
A third presentation dealt with the possibility that crises and instability are not alone in hampering or are not the main obstacles to democracy, whereas another presentation expressed an opposite opinion and considered that internal crises do not put an end to democracy, but rather that such crises and instability may be the strongest factors in leading to a mature democracy.
This opinion was supported by another point of view affirming that the crisis is not an obstacle, but is essential for the achievement of democracy.
These opinions were reflected on the discussions with the participants, some of whom called for the necessity for the Middle East to obtain the democracy that it deserved, provided it stems from within the region stating that external obstacles faced by the region, foremost of which is the stand of the super powers with regard to the Palestinian and Iraqi questions. Some other participants expressed their concern over what had been said about the absence of reason, which would prevent the forces of political Islam from coming to power.

Another session dealt with: “The European role in promoting democracy in the Arab World”. It was organized and moderated by: “The Institute of International Strategic Relations in France”. Some of the presentations dealt with the different methodological approaches of Europe on the one hand and the U.S. on the other concerning the way of establishing democracy.
Another panelist dealt with the extent of the possibility for European and Western values to become an ex ample for others, not, however, by exporting such values or having them copied.
A third panelist compared Europe to the Arab region with regard to the issue of democracy, affirming that no single state can claim to give lessons to others with regard to reforms.
A fourth panelist referred to the inevitability of having Europe deal with the question of democracy in the Middle East and of the need to devote serious thought to the matter on the basis of its security and urgent interests, provided that the key to any move should be towards enhancing democracy in the Arab World and to develop a partnership with the middle class, and civil society, both being a source of development in the region.
Yet, another presentation stated that Europe would seem to be closer to the region, not only geographically and culturally, but also because Europe is more understanding and objective with regard to the main issues within the region foremost among which the Palestinian question as opposed to the obvious American bias for Israel.
The participants had many comments with regard to the presentations. Some considered the presentations to be merely a number of statements in defense of Europe or the Western World, while others linked Europe's success to the extent of its capacity to offer assistance in finding a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. A third participant called upon Europe to bring pressure to bear upon America and to convince the latter of the need for both of them together to assume responsibility in this respect. Others spoke of the weak credibility as regards the role of Europe in
the region as a result of the lack of political efficiency of the European Union, in addition to the complex bureaucracy that Europe is facing.

“The Royal Institute for International Affairs in the UK”assumed the responsibility of organizing and moderating yet another topic entitled "Iraq: Is Foreign Intervention a Generator or an Obstacle to Democracy in the Middle East". The discussion started with the assumption that Arab regimes wish for the failure of American intervention in Iraq. Some supported the idea, while others objected to such a statement.
The discussion then dealt with the gravity of the Iraqi war at both the Iraqi and regional level, and some panelists criticized the incomplete democracy in Europe and the United States of America.
Some presentations spoke of the justifications for foreign intervention from an economic point of view, stating that such an intervention is necessary with regard to the Palestinian issue, and criticized Israeli politics and practice against the Palestinians, all of which reveal Israel as being a non liberal state, as well as being unworthy of a state which declares itself to be a democratic state.
The discussion between the panelists and the participants revealed the predominance of a current refusing the principle of imposing democracy from the outside, particularly by force, as is the case in Iraq at present, they expressed suspicion regarding the credibility of the stand of the United States of America bearing in mind their position regarding the Palestinian question. On the other hand, some speakers expressed interest in Turkish-American-Israeli relations, and raised
questions as to the nature of such relations.

” was given the responsibility of  “The Council for Foreign Relations of the United States preparing and moderating a session entitled: "The Formulation of Public Opinion, Democratic Application and the Role of Arab Information". One of the presentations dealt with the role of the information office in the White House and its methods of work, in the light of what was revealed by the events of the 11th of September as to America's need to change its manner of connecting with the rest of the world. Another presentation gave actual examples concerning the attempt to discover the facts connected with the investigations' reports in order to put a stop to the rumours aiming at destabilizing public opinion, or rumours aimed at reaching wrong conclusions and adopting the wrong stands.
Another working paper dealt with the role and responsibility of foreign information French) in Arabic for creating the climate conducive to assisting and encouraging the development of democracy in the region. Another speaker dealt with the role of journalists in shaping public opinion.
A fourth panelist reviewed the obstacles and problematics hampering the role of Arab information, particularly those caused by the State, and preventing the development of democratic mechanism. Another panelist dealing with the same topic spoke of the requirement for the future and called for the "institutionalization" and establishment of a charter of honour for Arab information.
The comment of the participants was in agreement with the presentations of the panelists, particularly regarding the role of the state in limiting Arab information. However the question concerning the danger of assassination threatening some media men, and the accusation of the United States for being directly responsible thereof, loomed high in the discussions of this topic.

Another topic entitled: "Free Trade and the Promotion of Democracy in the Arab World, Good Governance and Civil Society " was the subject of another session. This session was organized and moderated by: “The Centre of Studies and Research on the Arab Nations and the Middle East- in Geneva”.
One of the presentations discussed present day reality as regards democracy in the Arab World concluding that what is taking place is not aimed at establishing democracy through democratic political regime, but is rather the result of the pressure brought to bear by the international community, because of the way they view the radical regimes as enemies of the international community.
A second panelist spoke of breaking up monopolies and dealt with what was referred to as "the magic formula". A third presentation dealt with the European view of cooperation and partnership in order to achieve reforms, mentioning the importance of Middle East partnership even though it has not been realized to date and has only achieved average results because of the fact that there was no success in achieving peace in the Arab Region. The same panelist referred to the new extended European policy of relations of good neighborhood which was launched inJanuary of 2003 and which in fact, offers a new perspective of the future.
Another panelist spoke of the success of the process of the European integrationas opposed to the failure of its Arab counterpart. Yet, a fifth presentation dealt with the role of civil society in developing democracy as a fourth estate.
The discussion between the participants and the panelists centered around the question of separating religion from the state, some explaining that it is not impossible to establish the concept of Islamic democracy, while others considered that the failure of all attempts at Arab integration as compared to European integration is due to the Arab’s incapability of adopting a political decision, while another speaker considered the role of Israel to be responsible for such a failure.
assumed the responsibility of organizing and “The Islamic Centre in the United States” moderating the special session devoted to: “The policies and economics of energy in the coming stage”. Some of the presentations dealt with the political dimension of availability of resources, warning states owning oil and oil-products not to consider this a pretext to evade reform policies.
Another presentation dealt with world energy policies within the framework of the radical relationship linking sources of energy to economics, to the environment, to education and to equality of opportunities.
Another panelist mentioned the fact that the USA would be reducing their purchases in oil and natural gas from the Middle East and the Gulf in the long run, a fact that necessitates that such states should vary their economies, and declare the innocence of the OPEC organization of the charge of having an impact on the prices, laying the blame on the US system of dealing with gasoline after the adoption of the resolution for amending the law on pure air in 1990.
A fourth panelist affirmed that there is an agreement within the United States concerning the need to reduce the price of energy, while there is a disagreement concerning the way and means of so doing, stating that the availability of energy for all states may not be reflected in the form of economic development and welfare for the people, but rather it may divert attention away from the requirement of economic growth.
Some of the participants expressed their concern regarding the possibility of having false expectations, while others expressed their reservations concerning the possibility of seeing the United States of America reduce their dependence on foreign oil, and regarding what had been said concerning the tendency of the United States to shift their dependence towards the global sources of energy.

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5th Doha Forum on Democracy , Development & Free Trade (29-30 March,2005)

Opening the Forum H.H. Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has stressed reforms should be genuine and not in response to outside pressure.
Addressing some 500 prominent figures attending the conference, the Amir said it was not enough to introduce "partial amendments to avoid criticism or ease pressure".
Reform now has "new supporters ... after only few voices pinned hopes on the birth of the era of democracy in the region", he told participants from some 50 countries at the forum's fifth edition.

Delegates at the meetings include US congressmen and European lawmakers, with France sending a 50-strong contingent.

Chirac address

In an address to the gathering read by Secretary of State for State Reform Eric Woerth, French President Jacques Chirac stressed that reforms must come from within, a point often made by leaders of the Gulf region.

While France encourages reform in the Arab world, "it knows that changes must come from inside and take place at the pace chosen by each of the countries of the region", he said.

"Every reform initiative must be based on the expectations and needs of states and civil societies," the French leader said.

He also said a fairer distribution of wealth was a prerequisite to stability.

"In an increasingly globalised economy, our common efforts must reconcile the requirements of political reform and economic justice," he said.

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6th Doha Forum on Democracy , Development & Free Trade (11-13 April,2006)

750 participants to took part in the 6th Doha Forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade held on Tuesday with 560 international participants from 72 countries attending, HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani inaugurated the three-day forum and delivered a keynote address. The delegates, including politicians, intellectuals, businessmen, NGO representatives and journalists, will hold 12 sessions and four-roundtable discussions. First Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani delivered a speech on ‘Democracy and free trade’, Each session had six speakers from different continents.

HH THE EMIR INAUGURATED THE FORUM. HH THE EMIR HAS WARNED THAT CHALLENGING THE CHOICES OF PEOPLES WILL ONLY RESULT IN FULFILLING THE FEELINGS OF DESPAIR AND GENERATE WAVES OF WRATH. MOREOVER OPPOSING THE POPULAR WILL CONTRADICTS THE SPIRIT OF DEMOCRATIC OPTION THAT CALLS FOR COMPLIANCE WITH WHAT THE MAJORITY DECIDES, HH THE EMIR ADDED. TOUCHING ON THE REGIONAL SECURITY, HH THE EMIR SAID ESTABLISHING SUCH A SECURITY COULD NOT BE COMPLETED UNLESS DEMOCRATIC PRACTICE MAKES PROGRESS, BECAUSE SECURITY IS NOT JUST MILITARY ARRANGEMENTS AGREED UPON BY STATES. IT RATHER REQUIRES INTERNAL POLITICAL MEASURES WHICH ENABLE THE CITIZEN TO PARTICIPATE IN THE AFFAIRS OF HIS COUNTRY AND SHOULDER HIS RESPONSIBILITIES.

H.E. SHEIKH HAMAD BIN JASSIM BIN JABR AL-THANI First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs also addressed the forum.
His Excellency Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani, the First Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister, stressed that fundamental basics of democracy that aim to attain social justice are achieved through building a state of institutions, human rights, effective citizen participation in management and ruling, transparency and accounting for acts, which guarantee all the respect of the people’s choices.

THE Deputy leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords in the UK, Lord David Howell, gave a call for setting up a network of countries across continents for ensuring smooth trade and better transparency among nations.
While lauding the role of regional forums in finding long-lasting and effective solutions for many controversial issues, the British parliamentarian highlighted the necessity of such organizations to have an excellent understanding with international forums, especially UN-led bodies.

Lord Howell made these remarks while addressing delegates at a session on ‘Regional Institutions and Future challenges’.

Secretary General of Egypt’s Al-Ghad Party, Naji al-Ghatrifi, told a session titled “Opposition and Power”, that such regimes have been playing double games as in the case of the establishment of civil society organizations.

Speaking about opposition parties in Egypt, al-Ghatrifi said the Mubarak regime was responsible for their poor performance in the recent elections.

Abdul Bari Addwan, editor-in-chief of Al Quds Al Arabi, a prominent London-based Arabic daily, made a comment at the forum during a question and answer session.

Israel, said Addwan, had some 3,000 nuclear heads but nobody at this conference mentioned this, while many referred to the Iran nuke issue.

Addwan said that Israel killed 3,000 innocent people in the Palestinian territories and 'terrorism' was defined as an act of killing and torturing innocent civilians.

Samuel Huntington’s theory of “Clash of Civilisations” was flatly rejected by speakers at a seminar titled “Dialogue of Civilisations in lieu of Clash of Civilisations” held as part of the Forum.

The president of Western Michigan University, Dr Judith Bailey, rejected Huntington’s premise saying that it was an easily refutable argument. She indicated that Huntington’s view is very simplistic and fell short on respect for human conditions.

“Huntington presumes that there is a finite limit on the human spirit and that human being can only love and respect one’s culture and perspective, we call that a zero sum game”, Dr Bailey said while adding that Huntington quoted from Michael Dibdin’s Dead Lagoon novel: “There can be no true friends without enemies, we can not love what we are unless we hated what not we are”.

Speakers at a session on “The age of great immigrations” held as part of the Forum made a call to explore immediate ways to check uncontrolled immigration from certain parts of the world, notably in North Africa, to some European countries, especially France.

Initiating discussions, Yazid Sabeg, chgairman and general director of communications and systems `in France suggested imparting education among younger generation of immigrants about the problems a migrant likely to encounter in new situations, encourage the development of countries from where emigrants come from and thus trying to reduce the immigration to the maximum, if not to the “zero” level, as he called.

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The seventh Doha Forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade Forum
From 23 to 25 April, 2007
Doha -Qatar

Organized by the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the three-day conference (The seventh Doha Forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade), at Ritz-Carlton-Doha, dealt with the role of democracy in socio-economic development, the role of education in democratization, the Greater Middle East Initiative, the social dimension of liberalized trade, and good governance.

It also discussed the roles of civil society organizations and mass media in democratization and promotion of human rights in the Arab world.

HH The Emir of State of QATAR Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani opened the seventh Doha Conference on Democracy, Development and Free Trade, at Ritz-Carlton-Doha, which is also being attended by 600 delegates from 71 countries, consisting of political leaders, diplomats, intellectuals, academicians, businessmen and media personnel.

They included Finland President Tarja Halonen, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, leader of the UK House of Commons Jack Straw, Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa, former Lebanese premier Dr Saleem al-Hoss, and former president of South Africa F W de Klerk.
HH Sheikha Mozah Nasser al-Misnad and Prime Minister HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani The Qatari prime Minister and ministers were also present. The event has attracted a large participation from the US Congress and the UK House of Commons as well as Arab, Asian and African business leaders.

Hundreds of other diplomats, academics, and professionals from around the world also attended and held discussions.

Four Detroit-area Arab Americans attended, including former Dearborn mayoral candidate and Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Abed Hammoud, publisher of "The Arab American News" Osama Siblani, President of the Bint Jebail Cultural Center Naim Bazzi, and Vice President of the Arab American and Chaldean Council, Dr. Radwan Khouri.

HH the Emir of state of QATAR Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani called for “the correct understanding” of the reform process “which must be comprehensive and deep and not partial nor intermittent”.
HH the Emir said the main reason for “the democratic incapacity” in the region was due to the lack of correct understanding of reform.
“There can be no economic reform without political reform, which must be supported and guided by social reform,” he stressed.

Following are excerpts from the address of HH the Emir:
I welcome you all to the Doha Forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade in its seventh session. Since its first session, your forum has passed through a period of time which, I consider enough to review the progress of the basic issues with which the forum is concerned.

I start with democracy where the interest in its development in our region has grown during the past few years. The hope was that the region would make up for the time it missed and make a shortcut to catch up with the global march to freedom.
But you know that what has been achieved so far is not up the aspired level. Of late, there has even been a sort of lassitude and slackness in pushing forward the reform process with the pretext that the conditions in the region do not allow (it).

No two persons would disagree that the prevalent circumstances in the Middle East are still highly sensitive and complicated. However, that is not a justification for evading the democratic process.

The region had previously experienced the deferring, if not freezing, comprehensive reform for many years, using all kinds of pretexts until its problems piled up and its crises increased. Therefore, it should not make the same mistake again under the false impression that the relative abatement in the international concern about the advancement of democracy in the area would bring things back to their previous stagnation.
The greatest mistake, in my judgment, is to subject the progress toward democracy or retreat from it to messages coming to the region from abroad, or to the degree of external interest in its affairs, or to external pressures put upon it. This is an immature conception that ignores the free will of the people and their right to live a sound political life where freedoms are respected and where all people enjoy all rights, on top of which is the right to participation in public affairs.

Any review of the democratic process in our region has to probe into the causes that led to its slowness and delay.

First, I would like to refute any call trying to attribute that to the culture of the region which is based on the teachings of Islam: those sublime teachings which instruct their followers to be forgiving, urge them to be tolerant, make Shura and the rendering of advice obligatory, and stress the sanctity of human rights.
We all know that these principles are the core of democratic practice.

Moreover, if some in the West have slackened or given up their support to the democratic project in the region, that will not dissuade its peoples from that project nor will it become a thwarting factor to their right to popular participation, because people are always responsible for their destinies.
 
We should not forget that some in our region have paid a very high price to achieve political and social reform, and gave all that was dear and precious long before the outside world showed its interest in this issue.

It is therefore unjust to imagine that reform does move only under foreign influence. And what took place recently in Mauritania is a clear evidence to this. In this connection, I would like to take the occasion to extend congratulations to our brothers in Mauritania on the success of the Military Council for Justice and Democracy in transferring power in a democratic way to a civilian government through free elections that respected the will of the people and their right to participation.

The main reason for the democratic incapacity, in my view, is due to the lack of correct understanding of reform, which must be comprehensive and deep and not partial nor intermittent. There can be no economic reform without political reform, which must be supported and guided by social reform.
In my view, reform is not a list of options from which we choose, nor a collection of issues some of which can be deleted or deferred.

The success of political reform is correlated to the success of social reform, because democracy, like any political practice, depends on the state of society and the way of interaction among its individuals. Unless social relations among people are based on tolerance, belief in freedom, acceptance of diversity and the right to differ, democracy would not develop nor would reform the complete.
The reform experience in Qatar has paid great attention to the development of our social system according to a vision that makes our true religious and national values compatible with the spirit of the age and its requirements.

We focus in particular on education as an effective means for sound social upbringing that makes way for creative thinking and makes dialogue, collective work, and sharing responsibility and indispensable course to decision making. while consolidating this new social system needs time and effort: yet it is a prerequisite for the political reform to bear fruit.
 
We in Qatar are proud that our first legislative elections, for which we are getting ready, will take place under a social system that is aware of the value of participation and its benefit for the present and future of the country.

While our region is going through a slow transitional process toward democracy, on the contrary to that, it is going through another fast process of mounting threats and dangers.
Attention must be drawn here to the nature of the human fabric of our region, which is one of the riches in the world in its cultural, religious, ethnic and denominational composition. This always calls for the co-operation among all to ward off all sorts of sedition.

In this respect, we stress the importance of restoring security and stability in Iraq, where the events taking place there affect the safety of a wider regional circle. We affirm that the addressing of Iraq's problems must remain in the hands of the iraqis themselves.

We hope that they can soon be able to rebuild their country on the basis of equality in citizenship under a democratic system that guarantees their security and maintains Iraq's unity and integrity.
We have to caution that any hasty move could lead to triggering a new conflict in the region, which is certainly not in need of it. As much as we know that the issue of Iranian nuclear programme is a sensitive one, we believe that solving it through peaceful means is the most appropriate approach.
That is why I think the interest of all parties necessitates a commitment of diplomatic action for the settlement of that issue in such a way that the desire for peace prevails over the unjustifiable rush to confrontation, in order to build a world based on cooperation and not hatred, and seeks rapprochement rather than establishing axes.

I must also reaffirm that establishing a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East that restores the usurped rights of the people in Palestine, the Golan Heights and Shebaa Farms is indispensable for the region to surpass one of the most severe adversities to which it has been exposed.
Reviewing the democratic process in the region, and the challenges it has faced lately, cannot be complete without reviewing the state of development in it. Democracy, as you know, functions better when supported by comprehensive development.

Though figures indicate that the region has seen some increase in the rates of development during the last few years, development cannot be measured by figures alone but by the feelings and reactions of the people and the security and assurance they have in their present day and future.
And this requires major projects and creative economic ideas to which regional and international resources and capabilities are amassed, because fostering development and increasing the share of the Arab world in world trade are two bases necessary for establishing comprehensive regional stability that reinforces and supports world security.

Before concluding my address, I have to affirm that the region's march toward democracy, development and the age of free trade, even it is slow at times, will go on and be completed because it is guided by man's instinctive desire for freedom and his endeavour for progress and advancement.
The Arab citizen will not depart from the course taken by all those who achieved freedom. Moreover, his legitimate economic aspirations for a better future are not illusionary.
At the same time, it has to be stressed that the region must make that march by itself, and that the world ought to back it in accomplishing that mission efficiently.

I hope, ladies and gentlemen, that your forum would continue its role in supporting that mission because it is in the interest of the entire world to back the progress of democracy and the success of development in the Middle East in as much as this region participates with its resources and potentials in international development and prosperity.

 MEANINGFUL dialogue and discussions would contribute to the progress of humanity and political and economic advancement, HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani said. Welcoming delegates to the conference, the prime minister said the agenda of the conference included many issues that were directly linked to reforms.
He said the forum started its activities in 2001. “Regular conferences ensued with expansive and comprehensive discussions on the activation of democracy, free trade, economic rights, human rights, freedom of the press, the role of women, dialogue among religions and civilizations, education, the virtual relation between free trade and development.
“It reflected a host of diverse issues, methods and procedures of discussions”, he told the meeting.
Qatar had hosted the sixth International Conference for the Modern and Restored Democracies last October. It would host another conference on democracy and reform in the Arab world in May, he added.

 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said the positive relationship between free trade and development was well established. “With the ease of travel, shipping, and communications that our modern world provides, the benefits of trade have become more evident than ever. That is why it is so essential that there be a successful conclusion to the Doha Round of trade talks. The global trading regime needs to create opportunities for the poorest countries instead of leaving them at a disadvantage”.
If the Doha Round failed, there would be serious damage to those who could least afford it, to the multilateral trading system, and to multilateralism itself. “Should this round of trade talks succeed, Doha will become synonymous not only with free trade, but also indelibly linked to development.”
Exchange of goods often became inseparable from exchange of ideas, he said, referring to the link between democracy and free trade.
The UN official quoted Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen as defining development “largely in terms of the amount of freedom it gives individuals”.
Free trade, he said, “can be seen as the freedom to find a market for something that one has created, or to buy something that someone else has created, no matter how far away”.
An essential feature of democracy was a free press able to perform its vital work of informing and educating the voting public without fear, harassment and censorship, he said.
Another was the separation of powers, in which not all power was vested in a single institution or person, Ban Ki-Moon said.
He said democracy was not a guarantee of success either in formulating policies or implementing them. “But it is without doubt our most powerful and just means for giving everyone a chance to be part of the debate, for resolving differences peacefully, and for building well-functioning societies”.

The opening session on ‘Democracy and reforms in the world

Initiating the discussions, moderated by media personality David Frost, Leader of Britain’s House of Commons Jack Straw said democracy is a precondition for long-term peace and prosperity everywhere. “Where there is democracy, chances for a conflict are less,” argued the Labour parliamentarian.
Citing the case of Northern Ireland, where efforts are on to form a power-sharing government, he said this was “possible only because of the belief of all warring parties in Northern Ireland in democratic principles.”
Observing that the Middle East was in the vanguard of a major change, Straw expressed confidence that democracy would sweep through the region in the not too distant future.
While agreeing with most of Straw’s arguments, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa criticised the “increasing tendency among some strong powers to interfere in the internal affairs of weaker countries in the name of democracy.”
The former Egyptian foreign minister said that democracy was not totally unknown to the Middle East. Egypt, he said, had established a parliament in 1920. “It was not brought from abroad. It was born in Egypt itself.” Moussa said the people of Egypt had seen elections for long and they understood the essence of democracy.
“However, it is a pity that some major democracies are unwilling to accept the verdict of elections held under a democratic system in an Arab country recently, when they found that the results there had gone against their wishes,” he said.
Drawing loud applause, Moussa asked Straw to explain why democratic regimes like the US and Britain were indulging in a “double game” in Iraq.
Another speaker at the session, deposed Thai prime minister Thakshin Shinawatra, stressed that democracy was the best form of governance to ensure the rule of law. “It would also pave the way for social development of a society,” he said.
Shinawatra observed that military and dictatorial regimes had not succeeded in meeting the people’s expectations.
For the successful functioning of a democracy, a free and fearless media was a necessity. “Only under a set-up where there is a free press could a democratic experiment succeed,” Shinawatra said.
A market economy could flourish only under a democratically elected government, he added.
Former Lebanese prime minister Saleem al-Hoss and Marc Harb, a Canadian senator of Lebanese origin, also spoke.

The forum discussed ‘Freedom of media,’ ‘Clash of civilizations’, ‘the gap between North and South’ and other topics.

The US is pumping out a large amount of money to ‘freeze' young Muslim men on Arab Street, said Dr Ananya Roy, an expert in International Affairs, from University of California.
The idea was to retool of micro-credit as a technology perfected by lending to poor married women in the densely populated villages of Bangladesh for application to young Arab men in urban settings. A recent Untied States Agency for International development (USAid) meet witnessed an explicit discussion on how to give loans to young men in Arab countries, who will make ‘filafel' rather than becoming suicide-bombers', she said.
Dr Roy was speaking on "Development at the Limits of Empire" at a panel discussion on 'Empire and the Clash of Civilization" at the Doha forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade".
Micro-credit is the practice of giving tiny enterprise loans to very poor people, mainly women, without collateral, at high interest rates but with proven record of high repayment. Originating in Bangladesh, micro-credit is being touted as a solution for everything: from American inner-city poverty to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. But the system is being now intelligently used by Washington DC to create a `new Middle East', she said
If micro credit is being used as a safety valve in other countries, Washington DC conceived it as a technique to contain the anger and frustration of Arab youth on Street. The US dollars is being lavishly imposed on Egypt and its NGOs by powerful donors, she said.
"The unfolding of micro credit in Egypt shows us the difficulties of reconciling with democracy and development… Egypt is a development context saturated with American aid with USAID as a prominent actor, often managing the agendas of Egypt's development NGOs.", Dr. Roy said.
Prof Derek Gregory, University of British Columbia, USA ("Cultures of war: Imaginary Arab Cities"), Prof Mark Gillen, University of Oregon, Euagene, USA(America Town: Building the Outpost of Empire), dean John Lee, University of California, Berkley, USA(Global disaster) and Raka Ray, University of California, Berkley, USA(Recruiting gender for the course of empire) were among others who presented their papers.
Prof Nezar Al Sayyed, Center for Middle Easter Studies, Berkeley Unviersity, California, USA was the moderator.

Respect for human rights create a climate of freedom that is essential for the prosperity and success of countries in a fiercely competitive globalizing world, former South African President Fredrick De Klerk, said.
Human rights are important because of the intrinsic contribution that they make to the quality of life of individuals, he told participants at the Forum.
" The recognition of human rights provides the foundation for the development of democratic society. Indeed genuine democracies cannot function in the absence of the freedom of speech and opinion, freedom to organize and to participate in elections and freedom from arbitrary government actions," said De Klerk, who is also Chairman of the Global Leadership Foundation.
He noted that the free systems of the West triumphed over the totalitarian system of the Soviet Union and its satellites, not because they had greater armies or military resources, but because the closed Soviet system was not competitive and was incapable of creativity and innovation and the dynamism of a free society.
" The freedom assured by fundamental human rights empowers people. It enables and invites them to compete in free market places of ideas, of commodities and employment. Overall it rewards the diligent, the creative and the productive participants in the economy," he said.
The aggregate of the efforts of free people, he pointed out, results almost inevitably in accelerated economic growth and improved living standards.
Individual rights will become even more crucial to the success of societies in a globalizing world, he said.
" The creative, productive and competitive individuals who were essential for the success of any society will increasingly be attracted to free environment where their efforts will be properly recognized and rewarded with the resulting brain-drain from less free societies," said De Klerk.
He noted that there is close correlation between basic civil and economic rights on the one hand and high economic growth rates, low unemployment and improving living standards on the other.
Accordingly, he said, respect for fundamental rights and for economic freedom is increasingly becoming an indispensable condition for societies that wish to compete successfully in our globalizing world.
Today two billion of the six billion people living in this world do not have human rights, they are being suppressed and dying of hunger, he said, calling for discussion on ways and means on how to move leaderships in those countries to accept the need for change.
" We in South Africa have 30 years ago accepted that need. We have avoided what everybody expected would be a catastrophe. We could do it. It can be done in Palestine and Israel. It can be done in all the many other conflict areas throughout the world," he added.

“Is the West really supportive of democracy in the Arab Region?” session

Scott Bates, a top official of the US-based National Democratic Institute, a non-profit group working to strengthen and expand democracy worldwide, was addressing the concluding session of the forum at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
The session’s theme was: “Is the West really supportive of democracy in the Arab Region?”
Bates said that all Western societies were democratic in character, principle and approach. “From Lisbon to Los Angeles, we have many things in common and a common belief that is deep-rooted in the ideologies of democracy.”
He said democracy was more than just elections. “It involves the rule of law, protection of minority rights, protection of human rights, freedom of press and government’s accountability to people.”
Bates said democracy was in consonance with the general values of the West and was probably the only tool to ensure long-term security of any region.
Acknowledging that the people of the Western world were by and large ignorant of the culture of the Middle East, Bates however said that they had some understanding of the region’s polity.
Asserting that the Western world, notably the US, was working to promote democracy in the region, he recalled some of the initiatives that Qatar had made in the last few years, terming them as decisive steps on the road to democracy. Bates also lauded HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani’s inaugural speech at the forum, which he said had clearly mentioned where the country was heading.
Expressing confidence that democracy would ultimately succeed in the Middle East, Bates said he had great hope in the region’s young generation. “It’s major strength is that nearly 70% of the region’s population is less than 30 years of age. That itself gives me enormous confidence about the future of democracy in the region,” he said.
Speaking earlier, member of parliament from Bosnia and Herzegovina Haris Silajdzic said state-sponsored violence was working against the interests of those aspiring for democracy in his country. Lashing out at the UN and International Court of Justice for “remaining mute spectators” to the cruelties in his country, Silajdzic said the whole purpose of democracy stood defeated in such circumstances.
Former Algerian premier Maloud Hamrouch said the absence of proper platforms and credible political forces had led to the failure of democracy in his country. “The absence of a free press has contributed to the failure of democracy in not only our country but in the entire region,” he said.
“ A number of regimes in the region have scant respect for their constitution and power abuse is rampant,” Hamrouch said. It had resulted in the denial of economic, political and social rights to a large number of people.
Zsolt Nemeth, chairman of the foreign affairs parliamentary committee of Hungary, former British foreign secretary Lord Howe, and Kristi Westphalen, counsellor of the ministry of foreign affairs of Finland, also spoke at the session.
Baroness Symons of Verham was the moderator.

Last panel discussed 'The Arabs, the West and Democracy'

An important remark during the last panel discussion on 'The Arabs, the West and Democracy' was made by the UK's Lord Howe (a former foreign secretary) who underlined the need to separate religion from politics as a first crucial step towards installing democracy in the Arab states.
Scott Bates, from the National Democratic Institute, the USA, noted in his paper that the US' call for democratizing the Arab world which was so pronounced in the past five years or so, seemed to have become less intense.
However, striking an optimistic note about the region's future, he said that since 70 per cent of the Arab population was under 30 years of age, he had not lost hope.
Finland's Kristi Westphalen (a counselor at the foreign ministry) called for closer interaction between the moderate Arab and the Islamic movements which are non-violent. The mainstream Islamic non-violent movements in the Arab world have more appeal, she said.
Talking of Egypt circa 1990 in this context, she said it should be remembered that the Islamic radicals had failed to change the political reality despite their insurgency.
Hungary's Zsolt Nemeth (from the foreign affairs parliamentary committee) noted that social reform and stability in this part of the world was the key to world energy security.
The issue could be discussed at length within the framework of a free trade treaty to be signed between the GCC and the European Union, he added.

Some speakers were sharply critical of Arab World leadership:
“We have corrupt political and financial systems and weak and backward societies,” said former Bahraini Education Minister Dr. Ali Fakhroo, addressing a panel discussion on political reforms.
Tribal and ethnic bickering, lack of unity and social justice and near-absence of civil societies across the Arab nation were identified by Fakhroo as some of the major ills of the region.
“Democracy is a must to help secure the future of the region,” he said.
Dr. Abdul Khalik Abdullah of the United Arab Emirates University was said in the newspaper to have described the Arab world as the most violent region in the world, impeding the onset of reforms.
Dr. Shabbir Cheema of the United Nations said that while Western media painted an image of Arabs being largely disappointed with their regimes, the ground reality was not that bad.
He said surveys have shown that Qatar tops the Arab world in terms of judicial independence and figures at number 20 in world rankings.
Generally speaking, Cheema said, people are losing trust in their governments worldwide and placing more faith in NGOs, media and businesses.
Former South African President Fredrick De Klerk spoke on human rights and was quoted as saying that protection of human rights is the key to empowerment.
"The recognition of human rights provides the foundation for the development of democratic society. Indeed genuine democracies cannot function in the absence of the freedom of speech and opinion, freedom to organize and to participate in elections and freedom from arbitrary government actions," said De Klerk, who is also Chairman of the Global Leadership Foundation.
"We in South Africa have 30 years ago accepted that need. We have avoided what everybody expected would be a catastrophe. We could do it. It can be done in Palestine and Israel. It can be done in all the many other conflict areas throughout the world."
Dr Mohamed Eziddin Abdulmonem, Professor of International Law and Member of U.N. Committee for Human Rights echoed De Klerk's assertions and added detail to the obligations of Arab states to ensure protections.
"There might be an imbalance in the actual debate on human rights where there appear to be much more emphasis on civil and political rights on the one hand and far less emphasis on economic, social and cultural rights on the other hand. In some cases people are too rich to care for civil and political rights and in other people are too poor even to be able to practice their civil and political rights. This imbalance has to be redressed," he said.
Dr Azmi Bishara, an Arab Israeli who recently resigned from that country's parliament, was a surprise attendee who spoke on democracy in Israel, describing the Jewish democracy as meant only for a select few from certain ethnic categories.
On education, Dr Joseph Jabbra, President of the American University of Beirut spoke, stressing the need for a strategic plans for education development in the Arab World, according to The Peninsula.
Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser bin Khalid Al Thani said that good governance is largely a matter of tapping into the potential of the country's population.
"We have hidden reserves of talent in the region, a center of spirit of creativity and resourcefulness. Our leaders are charged with creating an environment in which these reserves of human energies can be harnessed," she said.
Dr Fadhil Mahdi, of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia in Lebanon, presented a paper at a session on the impact of globalization in Developing Countries suggesting that there is a general consensus that opening up markets for developing countries exports has been good for development and growth in those economies.
Finland's Kristi Westphalen (a counselor at the foreign ministry) called for closer interaction between the moderate Arab and the Islamic movements which are non-violent. The mainstream Islamic non-violent movements in the Arab world have more appeal, she said.

Main focus on human rights

HUMAN RIGHTS were the focus of discussion in the concluding session of the seventh Doha Forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade.
Cyril Vichy of the US based international civil society for democracy who presided over the session said in his opening remarks that the media is a powerful tool and has a long range impact in dealing with human rights issues.
The first speaker was the former president of the Republic of South Africa, F W De Klerk.
He said: Why are human rights important? And why is it in the interest of wise leaders to promote the freedom of individuals? “Human rights are important not only because of the intrinsic contribution that they make to the quality of life of individuals. They also create a climate of freedom that is essential for the prosperity and success of countries in a fiercely competitive globalising world.
“Britain was the first country to enter the Industrial Age, not because of the size of population, the extent of its territory or the resources that it controlled. The critical success factor was that the English enjoyed far greater personal freedom and security from arbitrary state action that their counterparts anywhere else in the world – even though the country was still very far from being a constitutional democracy.
“The fact is that already by the 18th century Englishmen enjoyed the protection of a reasonably independent legal system. In a period of absolute monarchs in most of the rest of Europe, there were effective constraints on the power of British kings and governments to do as they pleased.
“There is a close correlation between basic civil and economic rights on the one hand, and high economic growth rates, low unemployment and improving living standards on the other.
Accordingly, respect for fundamental rights and for economic freedom is increasingly becoming a sine qua non for societies wish to compete successfully in our globalizing world”
The next speaker, Khalid al-Atiyyah, chairman of Qatar’s national committee for human rights highlighted the point that human rights should be understood as the inalienable rights of every person irrespective of his nationality, religion, race or economic and social standing.
These are natural rights that cannot be taken away from anybody.
He further said: Man as a social being lives in a social milieu where human rights are an integral part of his life. There is no scope for any philosophical interpretation of these rights. But these rights have to be considered within the
dictates of the socio-political environment in which one lives. “Participation in the political life of one’s country is deemed as a right. But the mechanism of participation is subject to the constitutional provisions of the concerned country.
“Every country passes through certain stages of political growth. Until the 17th and 18th centuries human rights in all parts of the world were considered as a domain reserved for males only.
“Similarly economic and social rights did not emerge until a later period.
“However the revealed religions and different schools of philosophy guaranteed human rights all through history. “It is also to be noted that human rights have been abused and transgressed across the ages.

Changes in Iraq oil law criticized

EASM al-Jalabi, former minister of oil in Iraq, has blasted the recent amendments of the oil law in Iraq as a “divisive factor” of the Iraqi nation by giving expanded powers to the oil producing provinces in Iraq at the expense of the central government powers.
Esam al-Jalabi, who was the oil minister from 1987 till 1990, criticised the new law saying that the Iraqi government was under the US pressure during the drafting of the law.
“The oil law is mainly meant to ensure the return of the foreign oil companies to work in the extraction of the oil in Iraq,” he said.
He said that though the government had approved of the draft of the law on February 26, it had failed to submit it to the Iraqi parliament because of the public objections raised against it.
“Iraq was ranked the second largest in oil reserves when the whole sector was run by national experts and central governments. But now there is deterioration in the production and exports level,” he noted.
Al-Jalabi also said that Iraq’s oil reserves were currently being squandered and smuggled by different militia. “While the oil prices are soaring and all the oil producing countries are getting richer, we find that this is not the case in Iraq which has the second largest oil reserves. The whole sector is being crippled and sustaining heavy losses,” he said.
He pointed out that some US reports had referred to big corruption cases in the oil sector in which officials and ministers are involved. “There is unprecedented increase in the oil products being sold in the black market,”
he added.
Man by nature has a proclivity to go beyond his limit and transgress on the rights of others. “It is in this context the Holy Qur’an says: “Nay but man
doth transgress all bounds, in that he looketh upon himself as self-suffiecient” (96:6-7)
“We may conclude on the note that human rights in the present age are a symbol of progress and development and have been enshrined in all the
constitutions.”
The 7th Doha forum on democracy, development and free trade kicks off on the 23rd of April 2007 with participation of leading intellectuals, politicians and academics from Qatar and the world.

The Emir of Qatar His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and his consort Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Misnad sponsored the opening of the Forum.

His Highness the Emir addressed the participants during the opening session of the forum. The activities started with a welcome speech by His Excelency Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al-Thani, the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the State of Qatar. In addition, Mrs. Tarja Halonen, the president of Finland, and Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the UN General Secretary both delivered speeches in the opening session.

HH the Emir said.
“The hope was that the region would make up for the time it missed and make a shortcut to catch up with the global march to freedom.
“But you know that what has been achieved so far is not up to the aspired level. Of late, there has even been a sort of lassitude and slackness in pushing forward the reform process with the pretext that the conditions in the region do not allow” it.
The region had previously experienced the deferring, if not freezing, comprehensive reform for many years, using all kinds of pretexts until its problems piled up and its crises increased.
“Therefore, it should not make the same mistake again under the false impression that the relative abatement in the international concern about the advancement of democracy in the area would bring things back to their previous stagnation”, HH the Emir said.
It was a big mistake, HH the Emir stressed, to subject the progress toward democracy or retreat from it, to messages coming from abroad, or to external pressures.

A number of Their Excellencies sheikhs and ministers together with the Speaker of the Advisory Council, several heads of diplomatic missions in Doha, ranking officials, guests and businessmen attended the opening of the forum.

In a speech to the forum, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said globalization had made travel, shipping and communications much easier and made the benefits of trade more evident than ever.

Various issues of concern to participating countries and other world countries took up for discussion during the forum to be held at Ritz Carlton hotel in Doha.

The forum discussed the following issues:
The Conferees met together at sessions each moderated by six who shared discussion with the participants.
About 90 participants, representing leading politicians, Businessmen, studies and research centers, academics and the media were there to debate issues on the forums agenda.
More than 500 participants from 70 countries took part in the forum and for the first time a large number of Arab businessmen attended.
Doha forum on democracy, development and free trade had earned a position among the big similar conferences held in Europe and the middle east and had succeeded in drawing attention of many renowned figures from among politicians , businessmen and researchers because of the freedom in which it tackles issues and the outstanding participation.
Visions about problems and obstacles facing Democracy, trade and development was forged during the forum and some solutions was prescribed.
Experts considered the forum an opportunity for helping the reforms process in the world a matter that could result in some change in policies, especially regarding democracy and development and their role in the development of people and nations.
The forum focused on issues such education, the role of regions in society, liberties, women freedom and other social issues.
Assistant foreign minister for follow up affairs H.E. Mohamed bin Abdullah Al Rumeihi said the forum provide an opportunity to participates to witness the great developmental rise Qatar is witnessing, economically, socially and culturally under the leadership of H.H. the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa AlThani and H.H. the heir apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad AlThani.

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