Asia a key trading partner for Qatar: FM

(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Asia is Qatar's biggest trading partner accounting for 90% of the country's exports, HE the Foreign Minister sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani has said.

It is an indication of the importance of the Asian market to Qatar, the minister said in an interview with CNBC.

He said Asean countries have a share of 50% of Qatar's market, so there is continuous dialogue with that region and Qatar hopes to improve the relationship.

As a result of this relationship, Qatar has dramatically increased investments in the last few years in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and China, HE Sheikh Mohamed said.

"So Qatar's investments are widespread in Asia and the region is of very high importance for Qatar."

The Foreign Minister said Singapore has a special status with Qatar because of the high-level of a joint committee between the two countries.

The two countries has had co-operation for 12 years, and more than 46 enterprises have been realised out of this joint committee, including two major environmental projects in Qatar.

So there is a lot of progress and a lot of work between Qatar and the Asia region, especially Southeast Asia.

Referring to Gulf crisis, the Foreign Minister said Qatar believes in high morals and will never seek to pressure any country.

But Saudi Arabia and the other blockading countries were trying to exercise whatever kind of leverage they have on the nations especially in Africa and Southeast Asia, which Qatar sees as blackmailing and trying to impose the siege nations' will on their sovereignty, which Qatar does not accept.

The fact that some countries decided to join their club without any support for the arguments shows they do not not have full control over their decision-making process, the Foreign Minister said.

"No country can impose any demands or anything on another sovereign nation, so they have their own assessment and they have to decide whether Qatar is a country which is a reliable partner that they can work with, or if Qatar is a country which is a source of disturbance for them, he added.

Regarding the statements and allegations from the Saudis and other blockading nations which has never been proven, HE Sheikh Mohamed said: "This is something which all of us are against. This is something which is related to the collective security of our region, which is a priority for Qatar, as it'a s priority for them."

Making such allegations without any evidence shows inconsistency in their behaviour and that they do not want to solve this issue, he said.

"They started the entire issue, the entire crisis with a cyber-attack. This cyber-attack was to create a foundation for the crisis. So if there was a real justification for this crisis they wouldn't need to attack our state news agency, to put a fabricated statement attributed to the His Highness the Emir of Qatar in order to launch this campaign. So we are still calling them if you have any allegations, if you have any concerns that need to be addressed by Qatar we are willing to sit on the table.

"Show us your concerns - if there is something which needs measures being taken, it should be taken by Qatar and by other countries because it's a collective concern for everyone," the Foreign Minister said.

Asked about the Saudi denial that the cyber attack was behind the crisis, the Foreign Minister said: "Their denial actually is not true because we were just in Riyadh two days before the cyber attack. They never raised any concern about any issue. We were talking about regional issues. We were discussing the future of the GCC and none of them raised any of those issues and those allegations".

Last updated: October 19 2017 10:26 PM


Gulf Times

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