This year’s meeting came amid an ongoing Russian war on Ukraine, with the former launching fresh attacks on Kyiv this week.
Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani joined heads of states of various nations at the sixth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) on Thursday.
The regional summit took place in the Kazakh capital of Astana and saw the attendance of leaders from CICA’s member states. Some of the leaders spotted at the summit included Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Sheikh Tamim has already met with some of the heads of states, including President Raisi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and Putin.
During the summit, Kuwait was named as a CICA member, joining its neighbours Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.
“I welcome the State of Kuwait as the 28th member country of the Conference on Confidence-Building Measures in Asia,” said Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
Virtually addressing the summit, the United Nations’ Secretary-General António Guterres placed great emphasis on the importance of achieving a better future for Asia and the world.
“Over the last 30 years, CICA has grown into a vital platform for dialogue between countries across Asia…Together, let us meet the tests of our time and secure a better future for Asia and the world,” said Guterres.
The summit was followed by a meeting between Amir Tamim and Russia’s president, the first since 2019.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, Sheikh Tamim stated that Qatar has “strong and historical relations with Russia”, noting its support in preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“Coordination will continue with Russia regarding the organization of the World Cup, and we thank it for that,” said the amir.
Echoing the Qatari leader’s sentiment, Putin wished the Gulf state success in its preparations for the major sporting event, expressing Russia’s willingness to provide it with support.
“We are all glad, and our entire delegation is glad to see our friends from Qatar. We have practically started discussing issues on the current agenda during our work lunch. I want to say that I am very glad to see you again. As we have already agreed, we will be glad to see you paying a visit to Russia,” said Putin, as quoted by Russia’s news agency.
The meeting comes amid an ongoing Russian war on Ukraine, with the former launching fresh attacks on Kyiv this week. Russia is a CICA member and Ukraine is part of the nine observer states.
A person involved with the discussions said prior to the Thursday talk that the meeting is seen an effort to reduce tensions between Moscow and Doha, which have escalated since the Russia-Ukraine conflict started back in February.
Speaking at the summit, Erodgan called for the need to end the war in Ukraine, listing some of Turkey’s “tangible achievements” throughout the crisis, including the grain deal.
“Our goal is to continue the momentum gained despite the difficulties in the field and to stop the bloodshed as soon as possible,” said the Turkish leader.
Ankara has facilitated dialogue between Russian and Ukrainian officials since the beginning of the war on 24 February in an effort to bring it to an end. Erdogan is also scheduled to meet with Putin in Kazakhstan.
“The Turks are offering their mediation. If any talks take place, then most likely they will be on their territory: Istanbul or Ankara,” Kremlin foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters in Moscow.
The international community has intensified calls for a peaceful resolution to the war in Ukraine, which heavily impacted global food and energy supplies.
Separately, amir Tamim met with Palestine’s president, where they discussed the latest Israeli violations against Palestinians.
According to Palestine’s news agency (WAFA), Abbas briefed the amir on the recent attacks carried out by the Israeli regime in the Shufat refugee camp. The Palestinian leader also praised Qatar’s ongoing support for Palestinains “in obtaining their legitimate rights”.
The meeting came amid an ongoing siege on the Shufat camp and Anata that was imposed by Israel almost a week ago. The siege was met with protests by Palestinians in the area, where more than 130,000 indigenous people live.
The Zionist state’s move was was slammed as “collective punishment”, with the Israeli regime conducting raids and arrests of Palestinians. According to WAFA, occupation forces detained 24 Palestinians overnight.
Qatar has long expressed its staunch refusal to normalise with the occupying state, renewing its commitment to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.