PM Heads Qatar's Delegation To Opening Session Of Inaugural Qatari-Spanish Strategic Dialogue

(MENAFN- The Peninsula)

Madrid: Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani led Qatar's delegation at the opening session of the inaugural Qatari-Spanish Strategic Dialogue held on Friday, June 21, in Madrid.

The dialogue aims to elevate cooperative relations between the two friendly nations, especially in areas such as politics, defense, security, justice, trade, investment, education, culture, and innovation. It also addresses current regional and international issues.

During a joint press conference held alongside the dialogue's opening session with HE Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union, and Cooperation of the Kingdom of Spain Jose Manuel Albares, HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs emphasized that Qatar believes an immediate, urgent, and sustainable ceasefire in Gaza is the only way to de-escalate conflicts on all fronts. He stated that diplomacy is the sole path to ending all wars and conflicts.

Qatar continues its efforts, in cooperation with regional and international partners, to end the war in Gaza and prevent the spread of violence, His Excellency said adding that to date, Qatar has evacuated over 2,000 injured and ill individuals and their companions, and has sent 115 planes loaded with food, medical supplies, relief materials, and shelter necessities.

HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs further noted that Qatar is working towards an agreement on a ceasefire and the exchange of prisoners and detainees, currently reviewing responses from all parties and coordinating with relevant partners on the next steps.

Although its ongoing efforts have yet to yield the desired outcomes, Qatar relies on the readiness of its regional and international partners to exert all necessary pressure to enforce a ceasefire and promptly commence a comprehensive political process leading to a just, sustainable resolution of the Palestinian cause, he added.

Furthermore, His Excellency commended Spain's diplomatic efforts to end the war in Gaza, praising its ethical stance in joining South Africa's lawsuit before the International Court of Justice. Spain is the first European country to take such a step, in addition to its diplomatic efforts to recognize a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders a significant and historic step towards supporting the two-state solution and achieving just, comprehensive peace and stability in the region. He also lauded Spain's ongoing support for humanitarian and relief efforts in Gaza and Palestinian territories.

Spain has demonstrated a courageous and sincere ethical model in defending international law and its sovereignty in international relations, sending a message during a critical period in world history that double standards should not be applied by nations, and that the rule of law must prevail universally, His Excellency highlighted.

Spain's recognition of the State of Palestine is highly valued not only by Qatar and Arab countries but also by all free nations worldwide, seeing it as a just cause necessitating steps towards a two-state solution, His Excellency said noting that Spain's recognition of Palestine sends a crucial message against double standards, especially in an era where many decisions are made based on the ethnicity of the aggressor and the victim, which is unacceptable.

In order to realize a multilateral international system that protects everyone and maintains international peace and security, the law must apply to all, and no one should be above the law, he asserted.

Qatar has strived since the beginning of the war to achieve a ceasefire and the release of hostages and prisoners, His Excellency said referring to US President Joe Biden's vision for a ceasefire in coordination with mediators, Israel, and Hamas.

His Excellency explained that there was some progress in the situation, pointing that Hamas' responses indicate that there are still gaps between what was proposed and what was responded to. This is natural in negotiations as solutions should be built on compromises between the parties, he explained.

Qatar's efforts in this regard have continued without interruption, with successive meetings with Hamas leaders in recent days to bridge gaps and reach an agreement on a ceasefire and the release of prisoners and hostages, he indicated stressing that efforts are still ongoing, and reaching a suitable and acceptable formula, will mark the beginning of communication with the Israeli side to bridge the gaps and reach an agreement as soon as possible.

HE Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani pointed out that the entire world is counting on an agreement to release hostages and prisoners in order to reach a ceasefire, but the suffering of the brothers in the Gaza Strip continues daily, as we see killing in large numbers, and massacres occur day after day, there is a moral obligation to reach a ceasefire as quickly as possible.

His Excellency said that the Qatari-Spanish partnership represents a successful model for bilateral and regional alliances, as this partnership was established thanks to the close ties between our two friendly countries and peoples, and shared vision in all fields.

His Excellency added that the important visit of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to Madrid in 2022 represented a historic milestone in the process of bilateral relations, which resulted in raising relations between the two countries to the level of strategic partnership, and launching strategic dialogue under the banner of partnership towards peace and prosperity.

His Excellency noted that the State of Qatar aspires, through this strategic dialogue to deepen cooperation in several areas, including: Regional and international diplomacy, defense and security, energy, trade and investment, in addition to education and sports, and working to open new horizons for cooperation in culture, tourism, science, and innovation.

HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs underscored that Spain is an important partner of the State of Qatar, and one of the most important Qatari investment destinations that covers various sectors and economic activities, including; Energy, real estate investment, financial markets, and sports.

His Excellency explained that the joint efforts of the two countries have resulted in the growth of the volume of trade exchange in recent years, as it rose by a cumulative growth rate of about 22 percent annually during the years from 2020 to 2023, thanks largely to the energy file, as the State of Qatar is one of the largest suppliers of natural gas to Spain. His Excellency noted that Qatari investments in Spain reached 5.9 billion euros, according to the latest statistics by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and its subsidiaries, as well as some Qatari investors.

His Excellency pointed out that the successful and attractive investment environment in the State of Qatar succeeded in attracting Spanish investments to the Qatari market, through the entry of many Spanish companies into the Qatari market, which numbered 220 companies in 2023, as they contributed positively to the efforts of the State of Qatar, its development agenda and economic diversification plans, in all sectors covered by the Qatar National Vision 2030.

His Excellency note the State of Qatar's aspiration for more Spanish companies and investments to enter the Qatari market, as well as increasing Qatari-Spanish partnerships in Spain.

Qatar and Spain are working on several initiatives to deepen the cultural partnership between the two friendly countries, His Excellency said. He announced the implementation of a number of cultural initiatives in the Kingdom of Spain, including establishing a chair to teach the Arabic language and Andalusian civilization at the University of Granada, in addition to providing scholarships to learn the Arabic language for non-native speakers at Qatar University.

His Excellency pointed out that the deep partnership between Qatar and Spain is not limited to bilateral cooperation, but rather extends to include diplomatic coordination in various international files, indicating that the partnership has become more important than ever in light of the dangers that threaten global security and peace, pointing to the eight-month war in Gaza; the Russian-Ukrainian war and their repercussions on civilians and on global food and energy security.

His Excellency referred to the participation of the State of Qatar in the Summit on Peace in Ukraine, which was held in Switzerland last week, where Qatar renewed its call for all parties to comply with the United Nations Charter and international law and to resort to a peaceful solution, based on the commitment to settle international disputes by peaceful means.

To achieve this goal, the State of Qatar worked, through its mediation, to reunite Ukrainian children with their families in coordination with Russia and Ukraine. It has also been keen, since the beginning of the conflict, to contribute to supporting international efforts to address the worsening humanitarian repercussions of the conflict, and to strive to ensure the protection of civilians,
His Excellency said.

His Excellency the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs concluded his speech at the press conference by noting that there are security, political and humanitarian difficulties in Europe and the Middle East, indicating that joint action and continuous coordination between Qatar and Spain is the way to avoid the consequences of these conflicts, praising the cooperation of the two countries in all fields.

In his turn, HE Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union, and Cooperation of Spain, Jose Manuel Albares praised Qatar's role and mediation efforts to release hostages and detainees and work towards restoring stability in the region.

The world is facing many global challenges, he said stressing that Spain supports a multifaceted approach in foreign policy to address the challenges in the region, giving priority to the situation in Gaza, where the condition has become dire and catastrophic, necessitating an immediate ceasefire.

He pointed out his country's pursuit of sustainable peace through the two-state solution and establishing a real Palestinian state, calling for an international peace conference.

His Excellency warned of the escalating danger on the Lebanese border, especially given Lebanon's fragile political and economic conditions, noting that Spain is actively participating in the peacekeeping mission in the region.

Spain had warned from the start of the war about the risk of this conflict expanding, he said stressing that Madrid aspires to achieve a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis as the ultimate goal for the region's crisis.

He indicated Spain supports South Africa's lawsuit before the International Court of Justice and is currently coordinating with Latin American countries to unify positions, emphasizing these countries' tradition of respecting international law.

Regarding the inaugural Qatari-Spanish Strategic Dialogue, His Excellency Albares said that the strategic dialogue strengthens the partnership between the two countries, particularly following the visit of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to Spain and the visit of Spanish Prime Minister Dr. Pedro Sanchez, to Doha last April. He highlighted the coordination and mutual cooperation between the two countries, particularly in working towards stability in the Middle East.

He added that today, the two sides delved into many areas, including combating terrorism, investment, trade, education, culture, technology, and innovation, along with discussing cooperation between the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, and collaboration with South American countries.

He indicated the exploration of various areas related to the strategic partnership between Qatar and Spain, emphasizing that both sides share similar visions in many fields, such as energy and digital technology.

Spain seeks to utilize the opportunity of the strategic dialogue to deepen the relationship between the two countries and keep pace with various transformations, he affirmed.

Qatar plays a fundamental role in the Spanish economy, being the second-largest Gulf country investing in Spain since 2022, with the Qatar Investment Authority being the cornerstone of these investments," he said and voiced looking forward to enhancing this cooperation in many fields.

The meeting of innovation teams from both countries opens new opportunities in clean technology and agricultural technology, falling under the joint Spanish-Qatari program to enhance cooperation between Spanish and Qatari companies and institutions, enabling their entry into energy, health, sustainability, and digital technology markets, he explained.

The strategic dialogue boosts security cooperation as well as combating extremism and terrorism in all its forms, extending to addressing maritime security threats, human trafficking, and energy security, he detailed.

Qatar and Spain share the ambition to enhance cultural cooperation, with Spain continuing efforts to exempt the Gulf region from visa requirements to enter Spain, he highlighted.

HE Albares emphasized the ongoing work to enhance cooperation in training and higher education between Qatar and Spain, along with establishing partnerships at the university level, promoting scientific research, and extending this cooperation to the cultural field through initiatives for cultural plurality and the exchange of cultural and artistic events.

He noted that the Spanish-Qatari cooperation aims to strengthen the partnership and cooperation in various fields, particularly exchanging views on joint diplomatic efforts.

Concluding the press conference, HE Albares said that the two countries utilize the inaugural strategic dialogue to lay the foundation for a strategic partnership between Qatar and Spain, looking forward to leveraging the friendship between the two countries.


The Peninsula

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