(MENAFN- Gulf Times)
Member of the Spanish Parliament, Miguel Angel Gutierrez, affirmed that Qatar is a strategic partner not only for Spain but for all the countries of the European Union, hailing the efforts of Qatar in establishing world peace which are highly praised by everyone. In an interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA) in Madrid, Gutierrez said that Qatar and Spain have enjoyed good and fruitful bilateral relations for a long time, and there are great opportunities to strengthening them further in all domains; considering that the visit of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to Spain as the biggest evidence of the two countries' willingness to promote ties.
Gutierrez, the Member of Parliament for the Ciudadanos Party, added that Spain welcomes the Amir's visit and looks forward to more co-operation with Qatar in many fields, especially in natural gas -- the importance of which has been increasing in Europe after the Russian military operation in Ukraine on Feb 24. He noted the significance of leaders' visits to his country in promoting and developing the relations in all areas, and exploring new opportunities to support these relations; adding that Spain and the European Union countries in general are looking to develop new relations in the field of energy to import gas from outside Russia.
In this context, he referred to Spain's endeavours to establish new relations in this field to reduce its reliance the Russian gas in the future. Gutierrez applauded the great efforts exerted by Qatar in Afghanistan, whether in terms of concluding the agreement or evacuating foreign nationals, stressing that these efforts are appreciated by Spain and all Western countries. He noted that Spain has worked alongside Qatar in this regard, and also made efforts in evacuating Afghan citizens who were at risk if they remained in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of international forces.
Speaking about the joint economic committee between Qatar and Spain, Gutierrez said that the committee plays an effective role in developing the economic relations and activating and promoting all investments. In this regard, he praised the role of the Qatari embassy in Spain in developing the work of this committee.
He praised the large presence of Qatari investments in his country, as well as the large Qatari investments in the Spanish stock exchange. He added that by virtue of his specialisation in the field of security and defence, he is co-operating with the embassy to explore investment opportunities in defence and security. On this co-operation, Gutierrez explained that there are consultations between the Qatari companies working in defence and security and Spanish companies in this field, however, due to the great preparations that Qatar is undertaking to host the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, some of these projects have been postponed until after the end of the event.
He noted a co-operation between Qatar and Spain in the field of combating terrorism and continuous consultations on this regard, not only at the level of Spain, but also at the level of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato). Gutierrez described his visit to Qatar four years ago, during which he was briefed on the country's great urban development, as very fruitful and that he had returned to Spain with positive impressions.
He expressed confidence that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will have an unprecedented success in light of the great Qatari preparations, the wonderful stadiums and the strong infrastructure.
He noted that Qatar has started its preparations for the World Cup for a long time, so it fulfilled all the requirements for the event a full year before its launch, unlike previous tournaments when stadiums and equipment were ready only weeks before the start of the tournament. Gutierrez expected Qatar 2022 to be very successful tournament, and that it enjoys many other advantages, being the first World Cup to be held in an Arab country and in the entire Middle East, in addition to the fact that it will be the first World Cup to be held in winter.
On the Iranian nuclear file, Gutierrez expected Qatar to make great efforts in this file, as it enjoys good relations with all countries of the world.
He added that Qatar has great capabilities and distinguished relations that enable it to play an important role in the relations between the West and the East, noting that the European Union sees Qatar as an important gateway to resolving all issues in the Middle East. Gutierrez said that the current situation in Ukraine showed the world the great need for peace, and the need for all countries of the world to work to establish peace and stop wars to aspire to a better future for the coming generations, stressing that war leads to an atmosphere of hatred and prevents development and prosperity.
He expected the war in Ukraine to greatly change the world, warning of a major economic crisis in many countries due to the consequences of this war.
He said that this war, if prolonged, would lead to the complete destruction of Ukraine and a part of Russia, calling on all world countries to contribute to reducing the economic impacts of that war on Ukraine and a number of countries in the world.
He also called on Europe and its allies to provide support to solve the economic problems resulting from the war. Gutierrez also expected that Europe will continue to impose new sanctions on Russia, noting that these sanctions would positively contribute to ending this war because the European Union and the West are united and this gives the sanctions the appropriate and deterrent effect.
Regarding Russia's announcement of the participation of European forces in the war in Ukraine, Gutierrez said that this announcement is a Russian manoeuvre, as it is known to all that Nato forces are stationed on the border with Ukraine and did not interfere in the war at all. On the phenomenon of Islamophobia in Europe and how to eradicate this phenomenon, Gutierrez stressed the absence of this phenomenon in Spain and a complete coexistence between all religions in the country, noting that Spain coexisted with the major religions for 500 years. He added that Muslims, Christians and Jews live peaceful coexistence in the Spanish cities, and there are no certain areas for each religion in Spain, everyone lives together.
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