During his trip to Singapore, the Qatari prime minister will also have a new orchid hybrid named in his honour.
Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani is embarking on an official three-day trip to Singapore starting from Wednesday, at the invitation of his Asian counterpart.
This marks the first time that the Qatari prime minister is visiting Singapore in his current role. Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has released a detailed report on the top Qatari official’s agenda.
During his visit, Sheikh Mohammed is scheduled to meet with President Halimah Yacob and engage in discussions with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
On Friday, Sheikh Mohammed and Hean will jointly preside over the 8th meeting of the Qatar-Singapore High-Level Joint Committee (HLJC). Established in 2006, the committee serves as a pivotal platform guiding the strategic direction of Qatar-Singapore relations, the Singaporean ministry said.
Also on Friday, Sheikh Mohammed is scheduled to deliver the inaugural Raffles Lecture at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. The theme of his speech is projected to revolve around “Small States: Strategies for Success in a Competitive World”.
Sheikh Mohammed will be joined by a delegation that includes Finance Minister Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, Commerce and Industry Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim Al Abdullah Al Thani, Education and Higher Education Minister Buthaina bint Ali Al Jabr Al Nuaimi, Social Development and Family Minister Mariam bint Ali bin Nasser Al Misnad, as well as other senior officials, the ministry detailed.
Meanwhile, during a media brief this week, Advisor to Sheikh Mohammed and Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Dr Majed bin Mohammed Al Ansari indicated that the visit comes within the framework of bolstering relations between the two sides.
Highlighting the significance of Asia for Qatar, Al Ansari stressed economic, political, and social importance.
He said Qatar aims to actively engage in the Asian region, which hosts a number of major importers of Qatari gas. The Gulf state’s continuous and pivotal relationship with Asian countries involves energy, investment, and shared efforts to address regional and global security challenges.
Recent years have seen the development of these ties, with multiple agreements reflecting Qatar’s strong commitment to its Asian connections, Al Ansari noted.
In June, Singaporean President Halimah Yacob visited Qatar as part of her last trip abroad as head of state, where she also met with the Gulf state’s leader Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
“Today, I held constructive discussions with the President of the Republic of Singapore, Halimah Yacob, on ways to develop the strong relations between Qatar and Singapore in various fields. We also exchanged views on the latest regional and international developments of concern to our two friendly countries,” Sheikh Tamim wrote on Twitter at the time.
President Yacob and Amir Tamim witnessed the signing of a number of memoranda of understanding in Doha that covered various sectors, including food security, energy, and cyber security.
Another agreement entailed the implementation of training programmes for the Asia-Middle East Dialogue States at the Qatar-based Regional Training Centre for Public Administration.
Qatar and Singapore’s ties date back to 1984.
Singapore opened its embassy in Doha in 2006, the same year in which the two countries established the Qatar – Singapore High Level Joint Committee. Then in 2007, the Gulf state opened its embassy in Singapore.
The establishment of the committee resulted in the signing of more than 28 agreements between Doha and Singapore, according to Qatar’s news agency.
Sheikh Tamim’s visit to Singapore in 2017 represented one of the key developments in relations between the two countries.
Meanwhile in October last year, the Qatar Financial Centre signed a MoU with Enterprise Singapore in a bid to promote mutual investments.
Qatar is Singapore’s third-largest trading partner in the Middle East, whereas Singapore was Doha’s sixth-top trading partner in 2020, QNA reported.
In 2020, Qatar and Singapore signed the first long-term LNG deal that details pollution levels. The 10-year agreement details the quantity of greenhouse emissions and is hoped to deliver at least 1.8 million tonnes annually starting from 2023.
In 2021 alone, Singapore’s exports to Qatar amounted to $692 million, which included jewellery, refined petroleum, and gas turbines, per data published by the Observatory of Economic Complexity.
During the same year, Qatar’s exports to Singapore amounted to $5.88 billion, which included crude petroleum, petroleum gas, and refined petroleum, the OEC added.
Over the span of 26 years, Singapore’s exports to Qatar saw an annual increase of 13.3%, whereas the same period saw a 12.9% annual increase in Doha’s exports to Singapore.
In 2021, the Qatar Investment Authority established an advisory subsidiary in Singapore as it expanded its investment opportunities in Asia.