Following his talks with Qatari Foreign Minister Al-Thani, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel issued the following statement today (9 June):
“As I am unable to be in Berlin today, we thought it would be good to meet here in Wolfenbüttel, where Lessing wrote the play ‘Nathan the Wise’. The play is a good symbol of how religious issues should not be questions that divide humanity. I gave my colleague an Arabic edition of the book. This is a very symbolic place here.
With regard to the issue at hand, both the international community and Germany are very concerned about what is happening in the Gulf region. The conflicts there are already large enough – we only need to think of Yemen or Syria. And I have just returned from Libya. There are already far too many conflicts in the region. What we certainly do not need at the moment is for the disputes to escalate – especially between the Gulf states.
Germany has good relations with all of the Gulf states. Naturally, we are interested in seeing the conflicts there resolved peacefully. Blockades and breaking off diplomatic relations are a difficult decision that will mainly affect the people in Qatar – food and much more are at stake. That will also affect the German and international economy. But most of all, we recall that breaking off talks and not speaking with one another led to dreadful outcomes in European history. Next year will mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, and historians who have researched this topic have always said that people slept their way into the war because there was a lack of diplomacy and a lack of talks.
We firmly believe that now is the time for diplomacy and that we and our colleagues from Qatar and the region must try to find solutions, particularly to end the sea and air blockade and then to solve the problems in the regions. We are exceptionally grateful to the Emir of Kuwait for his endeavours to mediate. Along with our European friends, we will do everything in our power to ensure that this conflict does not escalate further, but instead is resolved as quickly as possible, and to concentrate on the actual opponent – the terrorists from Islamic State. We must stick together in the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS! Qatar is part of this coalition, and we do not want major disputes to weaken it.”