Browsing 'us' News

Qatar had been working hard both externally and internally to neutralise and even by-pass the effects of political and economic embargo imposed on the country by Saudi led bloc. Qatar is finally to yield required support from US.

A high level strategic dialogue in Washington took place between US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defence James Mattis and Qatari counterparts Foreign Minister Mohammed Al Thani and Defence Minister Khalid al-Attiyah, on Tuesday.

The first session of the dialogue focussed on strengthening security ties between US and Qatar and concluded with a joint declaration by both the countries to promote peace and stability and counter the scourge of terrorism.US also committed that it will work with Qatar to “deter and confront” external threats to Qatar’s territorial integrity

US and Qatar counterparts had a detailed discussion on the ongoing gulf crisis which have become a challenge to Qatar’s sovereignty and integrity. Both the governments expressed concern over the negative impact of the ongoing crisis on polity, economy and life in the region. Serious concerns were also raised in context to peace and stability in the region which has been jeopardised and is a stern violation of international law.

Both the countries expressed their commitment for seeking a resolution to the ongoing gulf crisis and affirmed their backing for a strong Gulf Cooperation Council that is focused on countering regional threats and ensuring a peaceful and prosperous future for all its peoples.

Qatar appreciated US role in taking a strong and just position in the crisis and significant part it plays in countering threats of terrorism and violent extremism. Apart from the ongoing crisis both countries discussed about various other threats to regional security and stability focussing on efforts to defeat ISIS, ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan, as well as efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The strategic dialogue till now has proved a mutually benefiting dialogue though it follows few days after Qatar announced an expansion of a US airbase in its capital, Doha. US, though, has emphasised its support for Doha but it is still calling for all sides to compromise.

Over the past two months, tensions between Qatar and the UAE have reignited with claims and counter-claims relating to intrusion of warplanes to missing Qatar from the map at the new Louvre Abu Dhabi museum. US administration realises that the rift can lead to a major setback to US policy in the region. The first strategic US-Qatar dialogue that kick-started yesterday indicates a subtle hope to ease tensions in the gulf.

In the inaugural session of US-Qatar strategic dialogue US Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson welcomed Qatar stating that “Qatar is a strong partner and a longtime friend of the United States. We value the U.S.-Qatar relationship and hope the talks today deepen our strategic ties”

The session focused on important areas of cooperation, including trade and investment, security, counterterrorism, energy, and aviation between Qatar and US. Apart from focusing on Civil Aviation the session focussed on memorandum of understanding that creates a framework for the United States to provide technical assistance and training to the Qatari Government on combatting human trafficking. The MoU will also lead to creation of a bilateral government working group to discuss labour practices in Qatar.

Tillerson also appreciated Qatar on making a considerable progress to improve efforts to combat terrorism. He further stated that “As the Gulf dispute nears the eight-month mark, the United States remains as concerned today as we were at its outset. This dispute has had direct negative consequences economically and militarily for those involved, as well as the United States.”

He further stressed that all parties must “minimize rhetoric, exercise restraint to avoid further escalation, and work toward a resolution. A united GCC bolsters our effectiveness on many fronts, particularly on counterterror – countering terrorism, defeating ISIS, and countering the spread of Iran’s malign influence.”

Foreign Minister of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani expressed his gratitude to US for hosting the delegation .He thanked US for taking a just position on the blockade and agreed that that the” blockade disrupts the joint efforts in providing stabilities for the – stability for the region.” He stated that in addition to security, both countries are committed to improve labour standards and will join forces to stop all forms of human trafficking.

Secretary Mattis appreciated Qatar’s effort in maintaining excellent military-to-military relations, hosting Al Udeid Air Base, home to our Combined Air Operations Center, the United States Air Force Central Command Forward Headquarters. Qatari Defense Minister Khalid bin Muhammad al-Atiyah expressed that Qatar is committed to take the cooperative military initiatives for welfare of community living in Al Udeid.

The inaugural session of the strategic dialogue has been fruitful in strengthening cooperation in fields of politics, military and economic development. However the overall significance of the dialogue on the blockade and US-Qatar partnership is still awaited.

vertical indoor farming in Qatar

Qatar has realised about its high dependency on its neighbouring countries for essential products such as food items due to blockade. Since then it has been using the opportunity devised by crisis to become self-sufficient with the major focus on food security.

Qatar looks highly motivated to achieve aim of self-sufficiency and its confidence has even been a major factor in attracting a lot of Global firms to join its ambitious Self-sufficiency Exhibition scheduled in April, 2018, which is certainly a great prospect.

Recently, in an exclusive interview with Qatar Tribune, AeroFarms Co-Founder and CEO David Rosenberg, stated that his company has presented their technology of indoor farming to Qatar and local businessmen have expressed interest in associating.

The technology of indoor farming to grow vegetables without sun or soil, in a fully-controlled indoor environment can prove very beneficial to Qatar given its geographical conditions.  The company’s patented aeroponic growing system, he explained, has very fast harvest cycles, predictable results, superior food safety and less environmental impact.

Though such association will ensure self-sufficiency and food security and boost much needed confidence in local producers and manufacturers to contribute in economic growth, it may lead to increase in prices of indoor produced farm products.  The technology as claimed by Rosenberg, ensures that all their produce is available year-round, consistent price, longer shelf life, less shrink, safely grown, wide variety, customizable mixes and no weather issues.

Till now Qatar has met its demand by exports but on a much higher prices and compromised quality, however, such a technology can have immediate effect on achieving food security but only if we do not have to compromise on quality and reasonability of the prices. Hence, we need to move up on lines of ‘produce in Qatar’ and this may prove to be a good addition, without compromising on the basics, as we are not looking for a short-term solution but a long term plan.