(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) There's no room for making peace with Qatar and the current changes witnessed in Saudi Arabia will contribute to the region's prosperity, a Bahraini diplomat said.
Speaking during the main session of first day of the 17th Arab Media Forum, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kingdom of Bahrain, said the current situation shows no indication of making peace with Qatar anytime soon, adding that a new equation needs to be taken to change the situation.
He was speaking to a crowd of delegates that included His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and his sons Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The forum, held under the theme "Impactful Media Trends," addresses media responsibilities in an ever-changing digital era with the presence of over 2,500 prominent regional and international media figures and thought leaders.
During his address, Al Khalifa stressed the historic relations between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, through which both countries coordinate on regional affairs and exchange views and expertise.
He added that the change Saudi Arabia is witnessing is a sign of ongoing development, progress and openness. "There is a general comfort towards what's happening in Saudi. We will see a leap in economy, arts and social life of Saudis who have incredible energy to exert in different fields. Now is their time," said Al Khalifa.
The social and economic progress of Saudi Arabia will add to the region's prosperity and ability to utilize the talents of the youth, he noted. "The main challenge the GCC is currently facing is setting the example of prosperity and development. The rest is simple, and can be solved."
Al Khalifa said that the GCC is capable of facing the region's current challenges with a strong core that will not be shaken from interrupted relations with one country.
"We have previously signed two joint security agreements with Qatar in 2013 and 2014. Will we go back to signing another agreement? The answer is no, we need a new equation," said Al Khalifa.
On relations with Iran, Al Khalifa stressed on handling the situation with care and being prepared to take action when security is threatened.
"Iran had wanted to claim Bahrain and had acted as a threat to the regime for years. When our governments reconciled, Iran had turned into a friend and an ally. We never felt threatened although it was creating a big army and a nuclear program," said Al Khalifa.
However, he said the GCC faces two challenges with Iran including its claim on UAE's three islands and its attempt to control and interfere with the Gulf's affairs and threaten its stability.
"As long as Iran changes its policies and chooses to open doors with us, it will be for everyone's own good and we will not hesitate to build bridges," added Khalifa.
He stressed that the UAE has inspired the Bahraini leadership and spirit, commending on the country's continuous development and progress.
Al Khalifa also emphasized that today's media is not in crisis, but is in a place where it is facing crises and changes in the Arab region transparently.
"The idea is that media is going through a sensitive time of development and transformation, but it is not in crisis."
He added, "Fake news is a challenge but is not a general transformation of media. Our media personalities are continuously progressing and are adhering to media ethics and transparency."
But when it comes to fake news disguised under the freedom of speech, Al Khalifa said the best solution is through taking legal action. He added that the key for the media is to deliver messages in a professional way that the public would understand.
The two-day event features 50 speakers representing 20 countries from across the Arab region and the world. It takes a close look at the impact of recent developments of the Arab region on the media and explores ways of instilling ethical values in the industry.
Sherouk Zakaria "Born and raised in UAE, Sherouk Zakaria is a Senior Correspondent at Khaleej Times. Joined since May 2016, she covers Dubai Municipality, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), special events and humanitarian issues. Her choice of journalism as a career stems from her passion of telling people's stories and writing to inspire or make a difference. In her free time, she's an occasional theater and film actress. Sherouk received her BA in Mass Communications from the American University in Sharjah in 2013. Before joining Khaleej Times, she was a senior lifestyle/entertainment editor for a magazine in Dubai."