(MENAFN- Gulf Times)
The Ambassador of Qatar to the United Kingdom Fahd bin Mohammed al-Attiyah affirmed that His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani's visit to the UK strengthens the historic ties between the two countries, increasing joint cooperation between the two countries to broader levels in various fields.
In statements to Qatar News Agency (QNA), he said that this visit is the first after the Covid-19 pandemic, adding that the visit of the Amir is always welcomed by the British side and is a station for broader launches to push the process of joint co-operation to greater and broader horizons. Therefore, Qatar is working to make this visit successful by all standards. There will be discussions on many areas of co-operation at the bilateral and regional levels in addition to addressing many issues of mutual concern to the two countries, he said. Regarding the UK's view of the Amir's visit, the ambassador said that it is being looked at with an eye of welcome and great interest, as decision-makers see that this visit comes at a critical time, especially in light of the geopolitical conditions in Eastern Europe, which necessitates the world's joint cooperation to defuse the crises that may develop beyond narrow borders, pointing out that the crisis in Russia and Ukraine is not local, but a global one that has led to a rise in energy prices in the world and a surge in food prices as a direct result of this war and the ongoing conflict.
He added that there is also the conflict of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, and how this conflict can continue after more than 70 years of injustice to the Palestinian people, noting that Qatar's role comes to dialogue with the UK and the major powers in the world to enable the Palestinians' right to their land and their legitimate rights. This visit comes to shed light and raise the level of cooperation in these conflicts to find radical solutions that achieve lasting peace and stability, HE pointed out.
About the Qatar's role in the nuclear issue between Iran and the West, and whether it will be on the negotiating table during the Amirs visit to London, he said that everyone knows that Qatar is a pioneer in mediating conflicts worldwide and that the Iranian file is one of the most important issues in the region, which caused many dilemmas in the stability of the region, and therefore, a radical solution to the Iranian nuclear conflict will be in our interest and the interest of the region as a whole.
The Qatar's role is focused on creating a political horizon through which a final solution to this crisis can be reached, he said. Qatar always seeks the need to find a radical solution to the Iranian nuclear file with other member states involved in negotiating with the permanent members of the Security Council and the United Nations, and it is expected to address this file during HH the Amir's visit to the UK to try to reach common understandings between everyone to facilitate in reaching a solution that satisfies all parties, as Qatar's role complements the international role and supports a solution to this file, he added.
Regarding the scheduled strategic dialogue between the two countries, the ambassador said that the strategic dialogue has not yet been held but the first meeting of the strategic dialogue between Qatar and the UK will be held after the Amir's visit, underlying that the dialogue comes as an embodiment of the importance of relations between the two countries, as the UK and the US are the two countries that have a platform for understanding under the name of the Strategic Dialogue. This dialogue will include all political, economic, security, cultural, educational, and sports fields, and all aspects of cooperation, and one of its priorities will be to consider how to raise the level of joint cooperation in all these frameworks, he added. The strategic dialogue dates are yet to be set, but he expects that it will be in the second half of July.
He also pointed out that Qatari-British relations are witnessing a continuous development in the political, economic, security, sports, and cultural fields, praising at the same time the regional cooperation between the two countries.
The ambassador indicated that there is also great co-operation in the military and security fields. HE said that the Qatari-UK relations did not begin only 50 years ago, but rather began more than a century before. It began with the first agreement with the British side in 1868, and since then, the bilateral relations have been developing in various fields, and at the level of regional co-operation.
The Qatari envoy pointed out that there are many aspects of bilateral cooperation, most importantly, is in the field of energy, as Qatar is one of the most important countries on which the UK relies in supplying clean energy sources, especially liquefied natural gas, an important resource for the UK.
Qatar has invested nearly 20 years in developing this relationship with the UK to include other areas of clean energy, HE pointed out. There is important cooperation between the two countries in economic and investment fields, as Qatar is one of the largest investors in the UK economy, and there is also the second-largest number of British expatriates in the Gulf states in Qatar, in addition to more than 2,300 British companies registered in Doha in economic activity, which reflects the strength of relations between the two countries in the economic aspects, he added.
Regarding the existence of new agreements in the field of energy against the background of the conflict in Ukraine, he said that cooperation between the two countries continues regardless of political conflicts in the world, as the State of Qatar's policy is not to politicize the energy sector, as energy is an important source for all. In this regard, history has proven that Qatar is a reliable source and is one of the countries that do not involve political conflicts in this product, which is one of the international strategic resources.
He stressed that the development of bilateral relations in the field of energy is not limited to gas only, pointing out that investment was made last year with Rolls-Royce in producing electricity using clean energy to start its transition to carbon-free energy, an area in which Qatar pays attention. In 2012, Qatar organized the United Nations Climate Change Conference 'COP18', which was one of the most important stations that reflect the country's interest in this field of environment and climate change. HE said that the country is proactive and therefore finds opportunities for cooperation with the UK side in the field of clean energy.
On Qatar's investments in the field of clean energy through Rolls-Royce, which intends to build small nuclear reactors to produce electricity, and whether Qatar could soon obtain part of this company's production to convert to completely clean energy, the ambassador said that this project is one of the most important Qatari investments in the field of clean energy. Qatar always seeks to diversify energy sources and reduce carbon emissions. This project comes in implementation of this strategy and upon its completion, the State of Qatar and the whole world will be able to obtain these small reactors capable of producing electricity, in addition to the existence of Al Kharsaah Solar Power Project in Qatar.
On trade co-operation between the two countries, the envoy pointed out that bilateral trade has increased above 50 percent during the past two years, adding that it was more related to the energy field. In the future, HE hopes that bilateral trade between the two countries will increase to include areas other than energy, which will support the relations built over decades with the UK side and make them grow in various fields.
Regarding the new economic office in Doha and its reflection on economic relations, he said that since the UK's withdrawal from the European Union, it has been trying to find single platforms to develop its economic relations with the world. This office comes within the framework of this policy, and the Gulf-British dialogue to establish a region of Free trade between the two sides, HE added.
In the educational and cultural field, HE said that there are more than 4,000 Qatari students in the UK, which is considered the first stop for education for Qataris, in addition to the great cooperation with UK universities in all disciplines.
With regard to the sports field, the ambassador said that there is co-operation for organizing the World Cup in the State of Qatar, as many UK companies have worked with Qatar in this regard to complete the hosting of the World Cup in the best way possible.
He said that we will prove to the world that we will organise the best edition of the World Cup, and that the cooperation between the two countries lies in technical co-operation, whether in the organizational or security fields, in protecting the organisation of the World Cup
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