By Mudassir Raja
The Embassy of Ukraine in Qatar held a reception to celebrate its 26th Independence Day at Grand Hyatt Doha hotel recently. The event was attended by dignitaries from Qatar, a number of people from diplomatic circles and prominent figures from the Ukrainian expatriate community.
The event started with national anthems of Qatar and Ukraine. Ukrainian ambassador Yevhen Mykytenko then delivered his welcome speech and highlighted the good bilateral ties between the two countries. After the ambassador’s speech, a cake-cutting ceremony was held.
“The event was a good diplomatic gathering at the illuminated hall of the hotel, where people from different cultures gathered under one roof and enjoyed European music and delicious dinner,” said Maksym Sobah, counsellor and deputy head of the mission at Embassy of Ukraine, while talking to Community.
He added, “The reception continued for three hours as the guests enjoyed the gathering and got a chance to meet with dignitaries and top officials from different diplomatic missions. The guests also enjoyed melodious European music presented by singers from Ukraine.”
Sobah further said, “The artists from Ukraine presented a variety of music. They sang mixed Ukrainian and European classic songs for the audience. The singers also sang along to six top hit English songs. The guests seemed to enjoy the music.”
In his speech earlier, Ambassador Mykytenko thanked the guests of honour and audience for their presence to celebrate the 26th anniversary of independence of Ukraine.
He said, “Twenty-six years is relatively a short period of time in historical sense. But during this time, our country has passed [through a] a difficult way from totalitarian system, to wild capitalism and social confusion, to freedom, democracy and open economy. The main task of Ukraine’s modernisation policy is to build a democratic state with educated, free and self-governed civil society.”
Talking about bilateral ties, the ambassador said, “The former Emir of Qatar, His Highness the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani officially visited Kyiv in autumn of 2011. This year in October we were lucky to have organised a visit of Pavlo Klimkin, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, to Doha. In September 2017 the Ukrainian and Qatari foreign ministers had fruitful talks in New York on the sidelines of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.”
He added, “It is also important to point out that on April 13, 2018, Ukraine and Qatar will mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. We do believe and are doing everything possible to ensure that the upcoming year will be blessed by high official visits between our countries on the level of the leaders of the two states.”
Discussing bilateral trade, the ambassador said, “I am also very glad to underline the noticeable increase in the overall volumes of trade between Ukraine and Qatar in 2016-2017. In 2016, the total trade turnover between our states significantly outperformed the figures of 2015 and reached almost $39 million. During the first 11 months of this year, our countries have already achieved a record trade turnover exceeding $50 million, which sounds promising but is still a bit far from both sides’ ambitions and potential. It makes me proud to see more and more Ukrainian foodstuff and various consuming products on the shelves of Qatari shops and malls. Ukraine, known as a breadbasket of Europe, is ready and able to guarantee the food security of Qatar in a very effective manner and within very limited timeframes.”
About energy, he said, “I am convinced that Ukrainian-Qatari co-operation in the energy sector can also play an important role in terms of diversification of energy supplies and preserving energy security of the European countries.”
“We welcome Qatari companies involved in investment projects in different areas such as energy, shipbuilding, hospitality, marine and airport privatisation, infrastructure, telecommunications, banking and some other areas to invest in Ukraine,” the ambassador said.
He said, “Last year, Qatar Airways started one flight daily between Doha and Kyiv. With great pleasure, I announce that the airline has taken a decision to double the number of daily flights on the same route.”
Regarding cultural activities, the ambassador noted, “With the help of the Embassy of Ukraine in Doha, numerous art exhibitions and concerts were organised at the Katara Cultural Village.”
He said, “I would like to thank the Government of Qatar for [its] positive attitude towards my Ukrainian compatriots living here. According to official statistics, there are almost 2,000 Ukrainians living in Qatar. Most of them are highly educated doctors, engineers, teachers, and sport coaches.”
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