Qatar Working For Urgent, Sustainable Truce In Gaza: PM

(MENAFN- Gulf Times) HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani led Qatar's delegation at the opening session of the inaugural Qatari-Spanish Strategic Dialogue held Friday in Madrid.
The dialogue aims to elevate co-operation relations between the two friendly nations, especially in areas such as politics, defence, security, justice, trade, investment, education, culture, and innovation. It also addresses current regional and international issues.
During a joint press conference with Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union, and Co-operation Jose Manuel Albares, HE Sheikh Mohamed emphasised that Qatar believes an immediate, urgent, and sustainable ceasefire in Gaza is the only way to de-escalate conflicts on all fronts. He said that diplomacy is the sole path to ending all wars and conflicts.
Qatar continues its efforts, in co-operation with regional and international partners, to end the war in Gaza and prevent the spread of violence, he 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 Sheikh Mohamed 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 co-ordinating 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 begin a comprehensive political process leading to a just, sustainable resolution of the Palestinian cause, he added.
Furthermore, he 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 recognise 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, HE Sheikh Mohamed 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, HE Sheikh Mohamed 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 realise 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, he said referring to US President Joe Biden's vision for a ceasefire in co-ordination with mediators, Israel, and Hamas.
He 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 Sheikh Mohamed 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.
He 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.
He added that the important visit of His Highness 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.
He noted that Qatar aspires, through this strategic dialogue to deepen co-operation in several areas, including regional and international diplomacy, defence 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 underscored that Spain is an important partner 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.
He 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% annually during the years from 2020 to 2023, thanks largely to the energy file, as Qatar is one of the largest suppliers of natural gas to Spain. He noted that Qatari investments in Spain reached €5.9bn, according to the latest statistics by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and its subsidiaries, as well as some Qatari investors.
He pointed out that the successful and attractive investment environment in 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.
He noted 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, he said.
Spanish Foreign Minister 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.
Regarding the inaugural Qatari-Spanish Strategic Dialogue, Albares said that the strategic dialogue strengthens the partnership between the two countries, particularly following the visit of His Highness 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 co-ordination and co-operation 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.
Albares emphasised 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, Albares said that the two countries utilise 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.


Gulf Times

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