|Qatar criticises international pressure on Palestinians
Gulf News - 12 April, 2006
Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, yesterday criticised international interference in the right of Palestinians to choose their leaders and condemned threats to withhold aid to Palestinian National Authority (PNA).
"This important Arab experience should be supported and encouraged rather than putting pressure on it or interfering with the right of the people to choose their leaders to threaten to withhold aid to them," said Shaikh Hamad addressing the opening ceremony of the sixth Doha Forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade. "Challenging the choice of the peoples will only result in fuelling 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."
The Emir said the civilised way in which the Palestinian political forces have dealt with the results of these elections reflects a commitment to what is decided by the collective will. This calls upon advocates of democracy all over the world to respect the decision of the Palestinian people.
The Emir said democracy, development and free trade complement each other and none could be implemented separately from the other.
The Emir said the controversy over reform that has started in the Middle East is 'necessary' and "must continue until reforms message reaches its end so that citizens get their due share of political and economic freedom".
Shaikh Hamad added that the consolidation of security in the area goes hand in hand with the success of the democratic process.
"Establishing the regional security could not be completed unless democratic practice make progress."