Qatar’s foreign policy is based on a set of principles outlined in its constitution. These principles include strengthening international peace and security by encouraging the peaceful resolution of international disputes.
Qatar’s foreign policy respects and honours all international treaties and conventions to which it is a party. Its priorities in foreign policy include:
- Mediating disputes between conflicting parties to achieve peaceful resolutions
- Promoting sustainable development
- Alleviating discrimination against women and religious minorities
- Bolstering humanitarian assistance in regions of conflict and war
- Supporting and strengthening efforts to reduce anticipated humanitarian needs in complex emergencies
Qatar believes in building alliances and finding solutions to conflicts through dialogue and mediation, while respecting the rights of sovereign nations.
“The State of Qatar is keen to assume an active role within the international community, supporting international efforts to address climate change as well as initiatives to combat terrorism and maintain peace.”His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, September 2019
“Two decades ago, my country decided to begin a new chapter of openness. This decision shaped Qatar’s signature foreign policy of engagement, dialogue, and collaboration. This was new for the Middle East, and the outreach paid off. Outside the neighbourhood, Qatar found friends and allies around the globe.”His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, November 2018
Based on Qatar’s commitment to renouncing force and coercion, Qatar upholds the need for the peaceful settlement of disputes through mediation, which is a priority of its foreign policy.
Mediation can prevent wars and armed conflicts. Qatar seeks to use diplomacy to address threats to peace and security in the region and the world.
Qatar has a long and successful track record in conflict mediation without interfering in other countries’ internal affairs.
In September 2020, Qatar demonstrated its commitment to mediation by hosting the Afghanistan Peace Negotiations. These historic peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government opened in Qatar, with the opposing parties having met face-to-face for the first time to end nearly two decades of conflict.
“History has taught us that using military force to resolve the Afghan crisis is not possible and that the only way to do so is to immediately and permanently cease fire and pave the way for a constructive dialogue through negotiations to achieve a comprehensive political settlement across all spectrums in Afghanistan.”
Qatar continues to play an active role in maintaining security and combating the phenomenon of terrorism. It continues to take the necessary actions and procedures to combat terrorism and violent extremism through bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
Combatting terrorism must not be confined to defence and security. It must also be combatted through enhancing the rule of law, promoting the rights of citizenship, developing a culture of conciliation and co-existence, accepting others, rejecting sectarianism, and addressing the issues of poverty and unemployment.
As a Muslim nation, Qatar will continue to stand against those who gravely misrepresent Islam by committing heinous and cowardly acts of violence. Qatar is proud to unite with its international partners to provide a strong alliance against this common threat and actively promote its longstanding culture of tolerance.
“Qatar is determined to be a force for good in the world, and to play an active role in promoting peace. The State of Qatar prioritises preventive diplomacy and mediation at the regional and international levels to resolve disputes through peaceful means and to achieve the peace that we all desire.”
Concrete steps Qatar has made to combat terrorism
- The State of Qatar serves as a founding member of the Global Counter-terrorism Forum, which coordinates initiatives with 30 different countries, including France, Britain, Germany, Canada, and the United States.
- The State of Qatar is an active member of the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC) that coordinates with other GCC countries and the US on domestic designations of individuals and entities associated with AQAP and ISIS-Yemen.
- In June 2020, the US Department of State released its Country Reports on Terrorism for 2019, stating that during the US-Qatar Counterterrorism Dialogue in November 2019, the “the two governments declared fulfillment of their July 2017 Memorandum of Understanding largely complete and committed to set shared counterterrorism priorities for 2020”.
- In December 2018, the State of Qatar and the United Nations Office on Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) signed an agreement to establish a UN Counter-Terrorism Office in Doha, and contributed $75 million to its overall strategy. Following this, in March 2019 Qatar and UNOCT held their first strategic dialogue at United Nations Headquarters.
- In July 2017, His Highness the Amir amended Qatar’s anti-terror legislation, which set clear rules for defining terrorism, crime, terrorist acts, terrorist entities, the freezing of funds and the financing of terrorism. During the same period, Qatar signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the US outlining future efforts to fortify the fight against terrorism and hinder terror funding.
- Qatar enacted new laws in September 2014 to increase government oversight of charities, which are suspected of financing terrorists.
“The fight against terrorism is among the priorities of the State of Qatar’s policy at the national, regional and international levels. We have developed legislative and institutional systems, fulfilled international obligations related to the fight against terrorism and its financing, and participated in all relevant international and regional efforts.”
Fostering human potential is the core of Qatar’s domestic and foreign policy.
Qatar is committed to helping people affected by all types of crisis situations – wars, earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters – through humanitarian assistance, while abiding by the principles of impartiality and neutrality. Qatar provided prompt aid for those affected by the tsunami in Indonesia and devastating earthquakes in Pakistan, China, Haiti, and others.
Over the past several years, Qatar has expanded its international aid programme dramatically, through donations from the government as well as Qatari charities and philanthropists.
From 2012 until June 2019, Qatar provided aid worth USD 6.75 billion to more than 100 countries around the world.
In light of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, Qatar has continued with its commitment to providing humanitarian aid. During the Global Vaccine Summit 2020 held in London on 4 June, HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani participated via video conference and announced Qatar’s pledge of USD 20 million in support of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI). Qatar also pledged of USD 10 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) to support the finding of testing equipment, treatments and a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.
Qatar has also provided humanitarian aid to allied nations, by supplying tonnes of medical aid to over 80 allied nations.
“The vast majority of Qatar’s humanitarian aid has focused on education and professional development, because depriving millions of children and young people of schooling and employment is dangerous, and leads to the loss of generations and act as a factor in feeding extremism, violence and terrorism.”
In addition to delivering its own aid programmes, Qatar supports the pioneering role of UN agencies and international organisations in areas of development and humanitarian aid. HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and HE the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres signed several agreements on the side-lines of the 2018 Doha Forum demonstrating Qatar’s active role in achieving international peace, security and sustainable development.
The agreements include a $500 million (QAR 1.82 billion) pledge to various UN programmes, making Qatar the 6th largest donor globally to the UN, and the establishment of four new UN offices in Doha. The agreement further pledges annual support to the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Qatar emphasises the importance of the role of education and youth development to counter violent extremism. Thus, the country has allocated a majority of its foreign aid to educational programmes and initiatives.