|The Emir of Qatar His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and his consort Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Misnad have honoured the opening ceremony of the Doha 6th Forum On Democracy, Development and Free Trade in the evening of Tuesday 11 April 2006.
The inaugural ceremony was attended by their Excellencies sheikhs, the ministers, the advisory council deputy speaker, the heads of the diplomatic corps accredited to Qatar, senior officials, the distinguished guests of the Forum and a number of businessmen.
His Highness the Emir delivered a speech to the inaugural session of the Doha 6th Forum in which he stressed that democracy, development and free trade complement each other and none could be implemented separate from the other.
Democracy, H H the Emir said, could not be attained without effective development in all economic and social fields. Likewise sustainable development could not be achieved unless the citizen is allowed to participate in decision making and to protect his economic interests, His Highness explained.
In his speech, H H the Emir said in order to achieve the desired benefits from democracy, development, free trade and the consolidation of the new world order there is an urgency to carry out a comprehensive political economic and social reform in developing countries to help them accelerate development that will be beneficial to all categories of the people.
It is also imperative that advanced countries understand the problems of the developing countries and translate that practically into the agreements to be concluded in the frame of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to assist those countries develop their own capacities, His Highness emphasised.
H H the Emir further said that in the history of this region, exchange was not a mere profession but an integrated culture which recognised the other, reflected self confidence and the desire of co-existence and acceptance of diversity and differences, which are fundamental human values in democratic societies.
His Highness also noted that the success of the democratic project is essential for addressing the manifestations of tyranny and corruption that still devour the peoplesí fortunes, deprive them of their rights and push some of their citizens to extremism and alienation.
H H the Emir made clear that the challenges facing the change towards democracy in the region have not prevented lately the birth of a unique experience in practicing democracy, referring to the insistence of the Palestinian people on exercising their legitimate right to choose their government with the due keen of their national authority on providing guarantees for exercising this fundamental right, the matter which contributed to hold the parliamentary elections in a complete atmosphere of transparency and fairness.
Elaborating, H H the Emir said this calls upon advocates of democracy all over the world to respect the decision of the Palestinian people and support and encourage rather than putting pressure on it or interfering with the right of the people to choose their leaders or threaten to withhold aid to them.
His Highness 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, H H the Emir added.
Touching on the regional security, H H 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, His Highness pointed out.
His Highness went on to say that the region is in a pressing need to finalize a major project which it has already launched and has to carry on with it for its own interest and the interest of the world as well.
At the forefront of this project is democracy, not only as a mechanism for decision making but as a way of life that is directly involved with the essence of its peoplesí aspirations for development, progress and building a better future, His Highness the Emir said in conclusion.
Foreign Information Agency of the State of Qatar,