HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani praised ties between Qatar and Spain, noting that the two countries enjoy strong cooperation in all fields, particularly in the investment and economic fields.
In a joint press conference with Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of the Kingdom of Spain, Jose Manuel Albares Bueno, HE Sheikh Mohamed said that Spain was one of Qatar’s important partners in the investment and commerce fields. He confirmed that he agreed with the Spanish minister to enhance that partnership.
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs praised the vision of the Spanish government regarding economic transformation in Spain, saying that Qatar looks forward to being part of that transformation and a supporter of it.
He said they discussed how to work together and how to intensify international efforts regarding developments in Afghanistan, and stressed the importance of having a unified international position regarding these developments, especially those related to the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. He noted that the people of Afghanistan need the help and it’s important that international efforts unite in that regard. He said he affirmed to the Spanish minister the importance of maintaining the freedom of transportation and travel to and from Afghanistan, and updated him on the latest developments regarding Kabul International Airport.
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs said he has discussed with the Spanish foreign minister different regional issues, saying he looks forward to discuss the latest of developments in the Middle-East led by the Palestinian cause. He stressed the position of Qatar regarding the two-state solution and that the Palestinian people must gain their full rights.
Responding to a question on the cost of evacuating Afghan citizens through Qatar and the latter’s expectation regarding these efforts, HE Sheikh Mohamed said the evacuation of Afghani citizens is taking place in the framework of international cooperation, noting that Qatar is assuming some of the costs with support from allies. He highlighted that such matters cannot be viewed through the lens of financial cost alone, but must also incorporate the humanitarian perspective as it involves saving lives.
Responding to a question on his demand for the international community to have realistic expectations for the conditions in Afghanistan, he said Qatar’s position regarding conditions in Afghanistan is that (that) country cannot be boycotted nor can communication with the Taliban be severed because it formed the government.
He said Qatar seeks to have continuous dialogue, adding that it would be wrong to ignore Afghanistan. “ Qatar believes that the Afghan people deserve support, which can only be given through interaction.”
On operating the Kabul International Airport and cooperation with Turkey in that regard and whether other countries will cooperate in operating the airport, he noted that the two countries worked together since the United States left. He said that Qatar sent a technical team to achieve the minimum required to operate the airport and transport passengers through commercial flights. He said negotiations on operating the airport are still ongoing, saying there needs to be a clear agreement with all parties on who will be in charge of the different aspects related to operating the airport like the technical and security sides.
He highlighted that it was possible that another country could also help, saying that discussions are currently between Qatar, Turkey and the Taliban.
For his part, the Spanish foreign minister stressed his country’s pride in the strong relations with Qatar, noting that Qatar is one of the most influential investors in Spain.
He praised the bilateral cooperation in various fields, especially in trade, sports and culture. He noted the potential to achieve a lot in this partnership, and that both sides are committed to strengthening it within the framework of the economic recovery plan in Spain and the trend towards an innovative and sustainable digital economy.
The Spanish foreign minister added that Qatari investments have a role in the Spanish economy, stressing that Spain looks forward to welcoming His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in Spain to promote the partnership between the two countries.
Bueno expressed his appreciation for Qatar’s preparations for the World Cup 2022, adding that his country is ready to help with necessary expertise in that field.
He said tourism plays a big role in the bilateral relations, noting that his country has received 5000 Qatari citizens. He also highlighted the remarkable cooperation in the healthcare field, praising Qatar’s progress in its Covid-19 vaccination campaign.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain hailed the role of Qatar in realising stability in Afghanistan, especially in the evacuation operations, and its efforts to improve the future situation in the country.
He stressed that one of Spain’s priorities is to help the Afghans who worked with it, stressing that it will not leave any of them without help. Meanwhile, he expressed concern over the current economic and political situation in Afghanistan.
Bueno underlined the confidence of his country and the international community in the essential role played by Qatar in achieving stability in Afghanistan and helping the Afghan people, affirming his country’s commitment to preserving the human rights gains achieved in Afghanistan over the past 20 years.
On the role of Spain in Afghanistan, the minister said there is European consensus on three things that must be achieved, which are the freedom of movement for those who have cooperated over the past years and who have the necessary documents to reach the European countries; ensuring the arrival of relief and humanitarian aid which were allocated during the donors conference and for which Spain presented 20mn euros; and respect for human rights, especially the rights of women and girls.
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