Around 700 guests attended the 92nd birthday celebration of Queen Elizabeth II at the British embassy in Doha last week, an event that also marked the strong relations between Qatar and the UK.
Qatar’s Minister of Education and Higher Education HE Dr Mohamed Abdul Wahed Ali al-Hammadi and HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti were the guests of
honour at the event.
British ambassador Ajay Sharma also hosted senior Qatari figures from business, government and sport, the Diplomatic Corps and other key members of the local community. They were entertained by the Qatar Armed Forces band and Doha Jazz.
“It is always an enormous honour and pleasure to celebrate here in Doha the birthday of Her Majesty the Queen, who will be 92 later this month,” the envoy said.
“I know that the tremendous respect and affection that we have in the UK for Her Majesty is shared by many across the world – including by our friends here in Qatar. She is so much more than a Head of State,” he noted.
“We have known each other as countries, as peoples, for a long time – and we have been together for a long time, longer than anyone else. We have a shared history, in defence and security dating back to the 19th century, with Colonel Pelly and Sheikh Mohamed al-Thani – the father of Sheikh Jassim; in business and trade, with the discovery of oil in Qatar and with UK companies the first to be here in so many sectors; and in culture and education,” Sharma said. “Generations of Qataris have studied in the UK, from Sandhurst to Wales.”
“We are looking forward to building on this shared past and building a shared future too, as we support the 2022 World Cup in Qatar- which we want to be a huge success and as we support Qatar’s 2030 National Vision – in areas such as education, with British schools and universities, in healthcare, with British medical expertise and equipment, the diversification of the economy, including the development of SMEs, digital economy and food security,” he added.
Sharma pointed out that their ambitions for the UK’s relationship with Qatar have not changed as a result of the GCC dispute. “We still want to do more across the board with Qatar.”
“We want to see the GCC dispute resolved as quickly as possible. We recognise the impact this is having on families and ordinary people,” the envoy said. “We fully support Kuwait’s mediation efforts and working closely with our friends in the region and in the US, in Europe, to support resolution.”
“In this context, I would like to note our appreciation for the way Qatar has handled the dispute – its openness to dialogue and its restrained approach. I sincerely hope that the visits to Washington by His Highness the Emir and other regional leaders bear fruit,” he added.
Regardless of the outcome of the dispute, Sharma said the relationship between Qatar and the UK will continue to grow from strength to strength.
“That’s what a real relationship, a strong friendship is about, being together in good times and bad, weathering the storms, and making the most of new opportunities,” he stressed. “The UK is committed to its relationship with Qatar just as I know that Qatar is committed to its relationship with the UK.’’
The British embassy thanked Shell, Hilson Moran, BAE systems and Standard Chartered for their generous sponsorship of the Queen’s Birthday party, including Fifty One East, Al Mana Group (Harvey Nichols), Alfardan Motors, the Edge Picture Company, and 1507.
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