Arab News Headlines

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Stresses Importance of Qatar-EU Relations

HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani stressed the importance of the relations between the State of Qatar and the European Union (EU), describing them as “positive.”

HE the Foreign Minister stressed the keenness of the State of Qatar to develop and strengthen these relations, whether in the security, economic, or renewable energy fields.

In a joint press conference with HE High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs pointed out that their meeting today came after the meeting that brought them together on the sidelines of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where the two sides completed what was discussed during that meeting.

HE the Foreign Minister indicated that the meeting discussed the Afghan issue at length, as he affirmed Qatar’s full commitment to support partner and allied countries, including the EU, whether concerning evacuations from Afghanistan or in providing the necessary platform for them to facilitate dialogue between them and the interim government of Afghanistan.

HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs added that the State of Qatar is constantly following all developments taking place in Afghanistan and urging the parties to engage in a national reconciliation dialogue that brings together the Afghans, while ensuring freedom of travel and movement, whether for Afghan citizens or foreigners in Afghanistan, stressing the importance of adhering to what was agreed upon in Doha regarding the fight against terrorism. Also, he urged the interim government in Afghanistan to preserve the gains of the Afghan people over the past years, calling on friendly and allied countries not to isolate Afghanistan and that there should be permanent engagement in dialogue to facilitate humanitarian aid and not politicize it.

In answering a question regarding the recent executions in Afghanistan, HE the Foreign Minister expressed his dissatisfaction with the unfortunate things that happened during the last period, noting that this matter is considered a retreat from work, pointing to the need to continue to engage with them and urge them to avoid such behavior, calling on the Taliban to act as Afghanistan is a Muslim country and they must act according to this basis concerning applying laws and dealing with issues that concern women.

It is very important for Islamic countries to be a model for the Taliban to follow to avoid mistreatment of women and misappropriation of Sharia, for example, the State of Qatar, which is a Muslim country as stipulated in its constitution and system, women constitute the majority and surpass men in terms of holding public office and higher education, HE the Foreign Minister explained.

HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani indicated that the meeting also discussed several regional issues, the most prominent of which is the nuclear agreement with Iran, where His Excellency affirmed the position of the State of Qatar in support of the parties’ return to negotiations with their commitment to the provisions of the nuclear agreement and that the region is free of nuclear weapons.

In response to a question about resuming the nuclear agreement with Iran or what is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), His Excellency made it clear that the State of Qatar is not a mediator, as its role cannot be described as a mediator concerning the talks on the nuclear agreement with Iran.

HE the Foreign Minister pointed out that the State of Qatar, due to its geographical location and its neighborliness with Iran, what is happening in Iran matters to the State of Qatar, and added that Qatar will do its best to reduce the escalation between the parties (Iran, the EU countries and the US), and continue to push for positive progress on negotiations and their resumption, and ensuring that the region is free of nuclear weapons, stressing the importance to not have a nuclear arms race in the region, which is Qatar’s goal.

At the conclusion of his speech, HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani praised the humanitarian efforts of the EU to support the regional issues, stressing the need for continued consultation between the EU and the countries of the region, which are important partners for all EU members.

During the press conference, HE High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell praised the relations between the State of Qatar and the EU, hailing the continuous and important cooperation between the two sides.

“Qatar is a good friend of Europe. We are your second biggest trading partner, you are a reliable energy provider – and on these times it is especially important – and we work jointly on several regional issues. But I believe, Minister, that there is potential to do more together at the regional level and globally-, and we want to explore these possibilities,” HE Borrell said.

HE High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy announced the EU will open a delegation in Doha, describing this step as “an important event in order to boost our ties.”

“We will also soon sign an Agreement on Civil Aviation. Qatar will be the first country in the Gulf with whom we conclude such an Aviation Agreement. This will bring our people closer and generate new jobs,” he added.

“Afghanistan has played a very important role in our talks, because Qatar is a country that plays a strategic role in dealing with the new situation in Afghanistan. You are playing an important role in facilitating interactions with the authorities in Kabul and the Western world. You did it during the evacuations; you are doing that keeping the airport in Kabul open, and I am sure you will continue doing that ensuring not only safe passage for those who need, but also the delivery of humanitarian support and also with all contacts and engagement needed in support of the Afghan people,” Borrell explained.

He expressed his dissatisfaction with the recent executions in Afghanistan, stressing that it is frustrating and disappointing, and that there is a need to re-modify the behavior of the Afghan government and for the EU countries to have an influence on this matter.

On the resumption of the talks on the Iranian nuclear agreement, and when it will take place, His Excellency indicated that during his meeting with the new Iranian Foreign Minister, it became clear to him that the matter could be done through the request of the JCPOA states parties and as a coordinator of these discussions, he expected the talks will resume at a time that will be acceptable to all.

“A second issue of mutual interest is the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal. This is a key moment for the nuclear deal and we continue working towards a quick resumption of the negotiations in Vienna. There, also, you can play an important role on pushing these negotiations to resume as soon as possible. We both know that the Iranians are ready to re-engage, to resume the negotiations, but it has to be done as quickly as possible,” he said.

“Being here, I want especially to express our deep gratitude for the crucial role that Qatar and Qatar Airways played in helping with the repatriations of European Union citizens twice. First, at the worst moment of the COVID-19 pandemic, when you were playing an important role, your planes and your hub, your airport, to repatriate our people; and recently, with the evacuation of European Union citizens and vulnerable Afghans from Kabul,” he stated.

“I have to congratulate you also for the Shura Council elections that will take place in 2 days. We welcome this important step and I wish the Qatari Government and Qatari people success in them.”

His Excellency also praised the efforts made by the State of Qatar to improve the conditions of migrant workers, “We have encouraged and welcomed.”

“I want to congratulate you, Minister, for your overall good progress on COVID-19 vaccination. I am glad that Qatar was added to the list of safe countries to travel to Europe. I think that we have an ambition for a broader and more strategic partnership with Qatar. This includes the big issues of our time: climate change, green transition, renewable energy, connectivity and to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

HE High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said, “We have the COP26 in Glasgow soon and we are launching this Global Methane Pledge, setting a global reduction target of at least 30% below 2020 levels, and we hope that Qatar can join in this effort.”

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs