(MENAFN- Gulf Times) British ambassador Ajay Sharma congratulated Qatar on the occasion of National Day, stressing that Qatar and the United Kingdom enjoy long-standing friendship and historical ties, adding that both countries are working together constantly to develop these relations.
In a statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA) in the run-up to the National Day celebrations, the ambassador expressed hope that 2018 will be the year of strengthening British-Qatari relations and elevating them to wider areas and horizons.
Sharma noted that the volume of direct Qatari investments in the UK exceeds 35bn pounds, in addition to another 5bn pounds announced at the Business and Investment Forum held in London in March.
He pointed out that the UK is interested in expanding its partnership and co-operation with Qatar in various fields of investment and economy.
He stressed that Qatar and Britain enjoy strong relations in the field of defence, referring to the Letter of Intent signed between the two countries last September regarding Qatar's plan to buy 24 Typhoon aircraft and also pointed out his country's keenness to support and assist Qatar in achieving its ambitious National Vision 2030, adding that, 'We believe that it's an inspiring and noteworthy vision. He also added that his country is also interested in being part of the World Cup hosted by Qatar in 2022.
Regarding the current Gulf crisis, the ambassador said that his country will do whatever possible to resolve the crisis, stressing his country's support for the Kuwaiti mediation to restore relations between GCC countries. Sharma praised the way Qatar has managed the Gulf crisis, and its adoption of a policy of non-escalation and welcomed Qatar's openness to dialogue as it is the only way to resolve the issue. Ambassador Sharma expressed hope that a solution to this crisis will be reached.
Regarding the partnership in the fight against terrorism, the envoy said that Qatar is a part of the international coalition against ISIS, adding that Qatar is working closely with the United Kingdom to combat sources of terrorism financing. He expressed his happiness regarding this co-operation and noted Qatar's encouraging steps in this issue, which included signing a memorandum of understanding with the United States to prevent financing of terrorism. Ambassador Sharma stated that accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism must by supported by evidence, and it is very important to present these evidences.
The ambassador said that the partnership between Qatar and the United Kingdom has not changed because of the Gulf crisis, pointing out that his country has great ambition to develop the relationship with Qatar in all fields in the interest of both nations.
He stated that, 'We will continue to develop these relations as much as we can because we believe that this is in the common interest of both of us. The envoy pointed out that relations between the two countries are mutual. Ambassador Sharma reiterated that Qatar is a strategic partner of the United Kingdom in all fields and that the British-Qatari relations are based on a historical basis.
The strategic co-operation between the two countries involves many areas, like the energy and investment sector as about 30% of UK gas comes from Qatar and more than 600 British companies operate in Qatar, as well as co-operation in regional issues and in the field of combating terrorism and others.
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