The first Qatar-UK strategic dialogue is scheduled to take place in March.
UK politicians are in Qatar in an effort to boost Doha-London bilateral relations. Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani met with the British delegation on Sunday, where they discussed the two countries’ ties.
“Friendship and cooperation relations between the State of Qatar and Britain and aspects of their development were reviewed, in addition to exchanging views on the most prominent regional and international developments,” said the Amiri Diwan.
Qatar’s Energy Minister Saad bin Sherida Al Kaabi also met with the UK’s Minister for Investment at Department for International Trade, Gerry Grimstone. The officials discussed cooperation in the energy sector, as the UK grapples with a gas crisis.
Qatar’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Thani, met with the British Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary British-Qatar Group, Alun Cairns.
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The Gulf state’s Minister of Commerce and Cairns reviewed investment opportunities in the two countries.
Separately, Speaker of the Shura Council, Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanim, met with Cairns along with his delegation. Al Ghanim and the UK official discussed parliamentary cooperation and ways to enhance them. The Deputy Speaker of the Shura Council, Dr. Hamda bint Hassan Al Sulaiti, was also in attendance.
In another meeting, Qatar’s Labour Minister Ali bin Samikh Al Marri discussed with the British delegation the development of the labour sector in Doha and London.
The worsening humanitarian situation in Afghanistan was discussed during a separate meeting between Qatar’s Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwah Al Khater, and the UK’s Special Envoy for Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Affairs Nick Dyer.
Al Khater also met with the British Ambassador to Afghanistan, Hugo Shorter. Following the Taliban takeover of Kabul on 15 August, the UK moved its embassy from the capital city to Qatar. The US, the Netherlands, and Italy also relocated their consulates to the Gulf state at the time.
The British delegation’s visit to Doha comes ahead of the first ever Qatar-UK strategic dialogue. The high-profile meeting is scheduled to take place in March in London. Qatar and the UK had agreed to commence an annual strategic dialogue in October last year.
The decision was made following a meeting between Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and his British counterpart Liz Truss.
“The Strategic Dialogue highlights the strength of their bilateral relationship and the mutually beneficial opportunities for the peoples of both countries to deepen cooperation,” read a statement by MOFA at the time.
The exact date of the meeting has yet to be announced. Qatar and the UK have long maintained strong diplomatic, defence, and economic ties. In November last year, the UK and Qatar announced the launch of a new Joint Hawk Training Squadron to provide advanced and high-speed jet training to pilots. Then in December, Qatar and UK defence officials discussed joint security at the FIFA World Cup 2022.
As the UK grapples with an energy crisis, reports from last year claimed that London sought Doha’s help to provide more liquified energy gas (LNG) supplies. However, a UK government spokesperson denied those claims.
According to the British Department for International Trade, the total Qatar-UK trade stood at £4.3 billion (over $5 billion) between July, 2020, and June, 2021, a 35.5% decrease from July 2019 until June 2020.
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