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Friday, February 16, 2024

First senior official meeting held to strengthen EU-Qatar bilateral ties

The EU and Qatar have initiated their first senior official's meetings as part of the 'Cooperation Arrangement' implementation plan. Both states have pledged to work together in various areas: particularly development cooperation, conflict prevention and counter-terrorism.

News Desk |

The senior officials of the state of Qatar and the European Union, met in Brussels on Thursday, to discuss bilateral ties between the two countries.

The Qatari State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, co-chaired the meeting with the Secretary-General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Helga Schmid.

According to EU sources, the meeting aimed at initiating the implementation of the Cooperation Arrangement between the EEAS and the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The arrangement was signed between the two countries in March last year during the visit of Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani’s visit to Brussels.

What is the Cooperation Arrangement?

The Cooperation Arrangement provided a basic framework to explore common interests for both states to build upon a strong bilateral relationship based on cooperation.

The EU delegation reiterated it would continue to support a diplomatic solution and maintained that there was a dire need to diffuse the on-going tensions.

In addition, the Arrangement also focused on providing a platform for both states to exchange views and discuss issues pertaining to the region. Especially, the present circumstances in the Gulf.

The Three C’s: Cooperation, Conflict Prevention and Counter-terrorism

The EU and Qatar reaffirmed their commitment to the three C’s and stressed on the significance to promote peace and sustainable solutions to the existing conflicts.

The meeting also covered areas of cooperation and coordination, with the EEAS and the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs, welcoming prospects for closer interaction in the fields of security and counterterrorism, conflict prevention and mediation, development cooperation and humanitarian assistance, and economic and social issues.

Read more: Qatar to host New round of talks between the US and Taliban

Both parties pledged to fight together against terrorism funding and money laundering, in addition to agreements made regarding the exchange of information and cyber security; all these developments are of prime importance especially for Qatar.

The peninsular state has been accused of terrorism funding and has also been a victim of cyber attacks especially since the blockade in 2017.

EU’s Concerns Regarding the Qatar Blockade

The Saudi-dominated Gulf bloc imposed an economic and political blockade on the tiny Gulf state over alleged support to Islamist groups; an accusation Qatar has denied ever since. Following the blockade, the website of the Qatar News Agency was hacked, and a statement falsely attributed to the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, was published. While the Qatari officials clarified their twitter account was hacked, regional media continued to attribute the tweet to the Emir, causing troubles for the Gulf state.

The EU delegation reiterated it would continue to support a diplomatic solution and maintained that there was a dire need to diffuse the on-going tensions. Discussions emphasized significantly on Yemen, the Middle East Peace Process, the situation in the Horn of Africa, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan and Libya.

Read more: Qatar Blockade: A Human Rights violation

Cooperation on economic and social matters was discussed with a focus on trade facilitation, investment, education, academic mobility and space including satellite navigation.