Cyprus Mail

The visit of President Anastasiades to Qatar

By Andrestinos Papadopoulos

THE President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades will pay an official visit to Qatar from 26 to 28 January at the invitation of the government of the state of Qatar. This is his second visit to the Gulf, after Kuwait. It should be mentioned that Qatar was the first country from the Gulf Cooperation Council to open in 2007 an embassy in Nicosia, whereas Cyprus opened its embassy in Doha in 2003.

The purpose of the visit is to strengthen bilateral cooperation, in particular in the fields of investment, trade and tourism. To that effect, President Anastasiades, who will be accompanied by a very big delegation from Cyprus, will be the keynote speaker at the Business to Business Forum.

An issue which will really contribute to the strengthening of tourism, contracts, cultural exchanges and mutual understanding is the visa liberalisation with the E.U., and in this regard Cyprus is willing to play a leading role in order to satisfy the Qatari interest in the subject. Moreover, Qatar Airways will inaugurate in April four weekly flights to and from Cyprus, which is expected to make a contribution of value towards tourism.

Views will also be exchanged on a matter very close to Cyprus’ heart, namely that of natural gas. It is well known that Qatar has the world’s third largest natural gas reserves and is a valuable source of expertise in this field. Cyprus can benefit from Qatar’s experience in the energy sector and it augurs well that the Ambassador of Qatar to Cyprus, Mr Hussain Ahmad Al Homaid recently stated that “Qatar will not refrain from rendering any possible assistance” in this regard.

Small, but dynamic country, Qatar is very active in foreign policy and international investment matters. Genuinely devoted to promoting peace and stability throughout the Arab world, Qatar is deploying every possible effort to bridge the gap between Muslim and non-Muslim countries in the belief that social and economic development needs, more than anything else, peace and security.

Given the good relations Cyprus enjoys in the Arab world, an exchange of views on issues of interest to the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean will make a contribution not only towards a better understanding of the nuances existing in the foreign policies of the countries of the region, but also of its problems by the European Union, of which Cyprus is a member.

In this way, peace and security will be better served and in this regard Cyprus and Qatar can play a constructive role.

Last but not least, we should commend the untiring efforts of the new Ambassador of Qatar, Mr Al Homaid to strengthen the bilateral cooperation of the two countries, especially in the fields of investment, tourism, education, culture and health. The praise is richly deserved.

Dr Andrestinos Papadopoulos is Ambassador a.h.

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