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Amir's visit an opportunity to make a difference in Qatar-Spain ties: Spanish envoy

  • May 17, 2022
  • Author: QT-Online
  • Number of views: 1092
  • Top News
Ambassador of Spain to Qatar HE Belen Alfaro Hernandez affirmed that the visit of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to Spain epitomizes the great state of bilateral relations.
The visit will push the relations to the next level, strengthen cooperation between the two sides in the domains of education, health, culture and science, and seek new joint projects for the forthcoming years.
In exclusive statements to Qatar News Agency (QNA), Her Excellency said that the visit of HH the Amir will be the only state visit that HM King Felipe VI of Spain will host this year, which is testimony of the importance attached to it by Spain, which indicates the importance Spain attaches to this visit, which is scheduled to envisage the signature of several agreements and memoranda of understandings which will open scope of joint action to new fields.
HE Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain noted the distinguished relations between her country and the State of Qatar and said that the two countries' governments have been working hand-by-hand to address common issues through mutual visits, the last of which was during 2021, when Qatar has hosted two ministerial visits from Spain. The most recent one was led by HE Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of the Kingdom of Spain Jose Manuel Albares Bueno, last September who held meetings with HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, while HE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad Al Muraikhi visited Madrid last October to meet his Spanish counterpart, she added.
During the last couple of months Qatar and Spain have signed multiple bilateral agreements including an Agreement on Cultural Cooperation and a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of Youth and Sports, HE the Ambassador indicated, adding that tourism between the two countries has resumed and since the reopening of the borders against the COVID-19 pandemic many Qatari residents have been able to visit Spain.
The Spanish Ambassador underlined that there are many areas where Spain and Qatar can increase their cooperation, noting that Qatar is going to host the FIFA World Cup 2022 later this year, which means that there will be room to enhance work in the field of sports and everything regarding this major global event.
She also described the trade relations between the two countries as good, as Qatar is a strategic partner for Spain due to the Qatari supply of LNG to her country, explaining that last year, bilateral trade managed to partially recover due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although it is still far from the figures reached in 2019.
HE said that the total value of trade between Spain and Qatar in 2021 was worth 990 million Euros, and Spanish exports to Qatar accounted for 349 million Euros, while Spanish imports from Qatar increased to 641 million Euros.
The Spanish Ambassador said that Spanish exports to Qatar are well diversified and include machinery and mechanic tools, garments, furniture, and electric materials. On the other hand, given the fact that Spain is a country that depends on foreign energy supply, imports coming from Qatar were strongly concentrated in oil and gas (mainly LNG), as Qatar is one of our leading suppliers of gas, she added.
HE affirmed that Qatar is lately showing a bigger presence as investor in Spain in strategic sectors such as aviation, construction, distribution, finance, and energy, adding that the Qatari investment in Spain is related to the real estate sector, hotels, media, or long-term investments in big companies' capital equity, and that some of the most outstanding investments Qatar has done in Spain have resulted in becoming the second largest investor of the Spanish Stock Exchange, long-term investor in capital equity such as IAG, Iberdrola, Colonial and Banco Santander Brazil. In addition, Qatar owns W Hotel in Barcelona, Intercontinental Hotel in Madrid, and Marina Port of Tarragona, she said.
She said that the Spanish investment in Qatar is related to the settlement of the big Spanish construction and infrastructure companies, IT firms, energy and water contractors or facility management and other services providers. On the one hand, Iberdrola stands out as one of the most promising investment operations carried out by Spanish companies in Qatar, which has set up its headquarters in Qatar to conduct research and investigation investments in Middle East, HE pointed out.
"On the other hand, Ferrovial is operating in the country through its branch FMM, taking part in outstanding projects such as the Hamad International Airport (HIA), and the National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ). Acciona a Spanish multinational company engaged in the development and management of infrastructure and renewable energy, has also built two desalination plants with state-of-the-art technology (RO): Ras Abu Fontas A3 and Umm Al Houl. Lastly, Aguas de Valencia set up its branch in Qatar since 2015, and it is involved in several projects regarding the management of the integral water cycle," HE said.
She stressed that Spain and Qatar are regularly working together, not only to foster bilateral relations, but also to coordinate their positions in the multilateral arena at a time when the world is facing increasing challenges of an even more complex nature, pointing out that during the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how Qatar and Spain have worked together supporting the global efforts to donate vaccines. In addition, both Spain and Qatar strongly support the international rules-based system and the United Nations Charter's principles, HE said.
Speaking about the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the Spanish Ambassador said: "I believe that Qatar is more than ready to deliver a very successful FIFA World Cup. The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy and the other relevant authorities have been doing an amazing job during the past decade to make sure that everything is ready for the event. We have seen this during the successful organization of the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, which has served to gain know-how and enhance capacities towards the World Cup. The Spanish National Team is also looking forward to delivering a great performance during the competition."