Tuesday, 21 September 2021 09:13 GMT

Spain an important partner for Qatar: FM


(MENAFN- Gulf Times) HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani Tuesday praised ties between the State of Qatar and the Kingdom of Spain, noting that the two countries enjoy strong cooperation in all fields, particularly in the investment and economic cooperation fields.

In a joint press conference with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of the Kingdom of Spain, Jose Manuel Albares Bueno, HE Sheikh Mohammed said that the Kingdom of Spain was one of the State of Qatar's important partners in the investment and commerce fields. He confirmed that he agreed with the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs to enhance that partnership.

HE the Foreign Minister praised the vision of the Spanish government regarding economic transformation in Spain, saying that the State of Qatar looks forward to being part of that transformation and a supporter of it.

He added that they discussed how to work together and how to intensify international efforts regarding developments in Afghanistan, and stressed the importance of having a unified international position regarding these developments, especially those related to the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. He noted that the people of Afghanistan need the help and it's important that international efforts unite in that regard. His Excellency added that he affirmed to the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs the importance of maintaining the freedom of transportation and travel to and from Afghanistan, and updated him on the latest developments regarding Kabul International Airport.

HE Sheikh Mohammed added that he has discussed with the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs different regional issues, saying he looks forward to discuss the latest of developments in the Middle-East led by the Palestinian cause. He stressed that the position of the State of Qatar regarding the two-state solution and that the Palestinian people must gain their full rights.

Responding to a question on the cost of evacuating Afghan citizens through the State of Qatar and the latter's expectation regarding these efforts, His Excellency said that the evacuation of Afghani citizens is taking place in the framework of international cooperation, noting that the State of Qatar is assuming some of the costs with support from allies. He highlighted that such matters cannot solely be viewed through the lens of financial cost alone, but must also incorporate the humanitarian perspective as it involves saving lives.

Responding to a question on his demand for the international community to have realistic expectations for the conditions in Afghanistan, His Excellency said that the State of Qatar's position regarding conditions in Afghanistan is that country cannot be boycotted nor can communication with the Taliban be severed because it formed the government.

HE Sheikh Mohammed added that the State of Qatar seeks to have continuous dialogue, adding that it would be wrong to ignore Afghanistan. His Excellency added that Qatar believes that the Afghan people deserve support, which can only be given through interaction.

On operating Kabul International Airport and cooperation with Turkey in that regard and whether other countries will cooperate in operating the airport, HE the Foreign Minister noted that the two countries worked together since the United States left the airport. He said that the State of Qatar sent a technical team to achieve the minimum required to operate the airport and transport passengers through commercial flights. His Excellency added that negotiation on operating the airport are still ongoing, saying there needs to be a clear agreement with all parties on who will be in charge of the different aspects related to operating the airport like the technical and security sides. His Excellency highlighted that it was possible that another country could also help, saying that discussions are currently between the State of Qatar, Turkey , and the Taliban. He added that he looks forward to the outcomes of these negotiations in the coming days. 
For his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of the Kingdom of Spain, Jose Manuel Albares Bueno, stressed his country's pride in the strong relations with the State of Qatar, noting that Qatar is one of the most influential investors in Spain.

Bueno praised the bilateral cooperation in various fields, especially in trade, sports and culture.

He noted the potential to achieve a lot in this partnership, and that both sides are committed to strengthening it within the framework of the economic recovery plan in Spain and the trend towards an innovative and sustainable digital economy.

He added that Qatari investments have a role in the Spanish economy, stressing that Spain looks forward to welcoming His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Spain to promote the partnership between the two countries.

Bueno expressed his appreciation for the State of Qatar's efforts to prepare for the World Cup 2022, adding that his country is ready to help with necessary expertise in that field.

He said that tourism plays a big role in the bilateral relations, noting that his country has received 5000 Qatari citizens. He also highlighted the remarkable cooperation in the healthcare field, praising the State of Qatar's progress in its Covid-19 vaccination campaign.

Bueno hailed the role of the State of Qatar in realizing stability of Afghanistan, especially in the evacuation operations, and its efforts to improve the future situation in the country.

He stressed that one of Spain's priorities is to help the Afghans who worked with it, stressing that it will not leave any of them without help. Meanwhile, he expressed concern over the current economic and political situation in Afghanistan.

He underlined the confidence of his country and the international community in the essential role played by the State of Qatar in achieving stability in Afghanistan and helping the Afghan people, affirming his country's commitment to preserving the human rights gains achieved in Afghanistan over the past 20 years.

On the role of Spain in Afghanistan, Bueno said that there is European consensus on three things that must be achieved, which are the freedom of movement for those who have cooperated over the past years and who have the necessary documents to reach the European countries; ensuring the arrival of relief and humanitarian aid which were allocated during the donors conference and for which Spain presented 20 million euros; and the respect for human rights, especially the rights of women and girls.

Last updated: September 15 2021 12:53 AM

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