MUNICH: Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani gives a speech during the 54th Munich Security Conference on Friday. - AFP

MUNICH: Middle Eastern states should put their differences behind them and forge a security pact modeled on the European Union in order to pull the region back from the brink, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said on Friday. He asked the international community to keep up diplomatic pressure on the countries concerned to achieve that, but offered few other details.

"I believe that it is time for wider regional security in the Middle East. It is time for all nations of the region to forget the past, including us, and agree on basic security principles and rules of governance, and at least a minimum level of security to allow for peace and prosperity," Sheikh Tamim told a security conference in Munich. "This should not be a pipe dream. Too much is at risk. The Middle East is at the brink. It's time to bring it back."

Qatar, a tiny but rich Gulf Arab state, has been isolated over the past seven months by trade and travel sanctions imposed by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt over accusations - denied by Doha - that it supports terrorism and regional rival Iran. Efforts by the United States and Kuwait to end the rift have failed to produce any results.

In addition to the Gulf row, Sheikh Tamim referenced violent conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Libya which have sparked humanitarian catastrophes and one of the largest refugee crises ever with millions of people washing up in Europe in recent years. "We can mirror efforts of the European Union, its ability to find common ground to rebuild and prosper," he added. "Shifting from feuds to cooperation will require that we each be held accountable." - Reuters