HE Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani said Thursday evening the strategic relations between Qatar and France are characterised by complete homogeneity, convergence of stances, and continuous coordination.
In a joint press conference with French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna in Doha, he expressed his happiness at the opening of the second Qatar-France strategic dialogue, which is an important mechanism to enhance fruitful and constructive co-operation between the two countries, and to agree on a joint action plan for the coming years.
The two sides stressed the importance of elevating the existing co-operation between the two countries, especially in the political, diplomatic, economic, defence and security fields, including combating terrorism, he said, highlighting that the political and diplomatic co-ordination between the two countries in the field of humanitarian aid opened new horizons for co-operation in this field.
He added that both parties have discussed over the past period ways of humanitarian co-operation in Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine, highlighting aspirations for expanding this partnership to include multiple countries, as well as opportunities to enhance co-operation between the two countries in the field of climate change, energy export and energy security.
The PM added the talks with the French minister dealt with ways to strengthen the strategic relations that bring the two countries together in the trade and investment fields, indicating that Qatari investments in France and French investments in Qatar are the bedrock for economic partnership and important tributaries for the economies of the two countries. France occupies an advanced position in Qatar's trade partners list, he said, highlighting the opportunities that were discussed between officials of the two countries over the past weeks to direct these investments to new strategic sectors.
HE Sheikh Mohammed expressed his thanks for all the French efforts to support Qatar's FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 hosting, especially in the security field, expressing his aspiration to support the efforts of the French government to present a successful and distinguished edition of the 2024 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Paris.
He noted that the talks with the French side attached great importance to the latest developments in the international arena, with the two sides having agreed on the need to unite efforts to reach goals that serve the security, stability and prosperity of the region, and support international peace and security.
Regarding the Palestinian issue, he stressed Qatar has always affirmed its firm position that supports the justice of the Palestinian cause and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people that must be defended, the establishment of an independent state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the need to pressure Israel to stop all unilateral measures it is taking against the Palestinian people.
The PM added the two parties discussed the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, affirming Qatar's firm position that calls for abiding by the UN Charter, slamming the attack on the sovereignty of any country, and respecting Ukraine's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.
He added the talks covered various topics including the situation in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, Sudan and Chad, and various issues of international peace and security, expressing his aspiration to move forward with the strategic relationship between the two countries to realise what was discussed today.
On security coordination mechanisms between Qatar and France, he said that political dialogue continues at all levels through consultation on various issues, and through the partnerships in which Qatar works with France to try to resolve these diplomatic crises. He highlighted the co-operation of the two countries and their joint work in the Republic of Chad, adding that Qatar was a facilitator of the Doha Dialogue between Chadian factions, and that France was ever-present and supportive of the dialogue. He also said the positive outcomes were thanks to the partnership with France and other countries.
He added the co-operation between the two countries is multifaceted, and that their positions have always been similar, and that they have always sought to enhance this rapprochement to achieve security in the region through continuous consultation and attempts to find peaceful solutions to various issues, especially in Lebanon, Syria and the Iranian nuclear issue.
With regard to co-operation between Qatar and France in the field of international development, the PM explained that the partnership between the two countries was manifested in various humanitarian projects in Afghanistan, expressing his aspiration to expand this partnership in other countries, especially since Qatar is one of the countries in the field of humanitarian and international development, with aid that reaches more than 100 countries around the world, and the joint work between Qatar and France is an added value in supporting these countries, and reaching political solutions in areas suffering from crises.
Regarding Qatar's position on the Syrian crisis and the situation in Lebanon, he affirmed Qatar's support for all regional and international efforts aimed at finding a comprehensive and just solution to the Syrian crisis that respects its unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and fulfills the aspirations of the people it is based on Resolution 2254 in all its humanitarian and political aspects.
He added that there was issue with Syria, given its a sisterly country and that the Syrian people are as brothers, but noted that there was an issue with its regime that has bombed and displaced its people for more than 10 years. He said there are regional attempts and efforts to find a political solution, which Qatar agrees with and supports them in that regard, but disagrees with the method of achieving these goals. He said that Qatar seeks a fair resolution that will do justice to the Syrian people, ensure a safe return for Syrian refugees, and that it would be a solution acceptable to the Syrian people not Qatar or France or any other country.
With regard to supporting Lebanon, the PM said Qatar continuously supports brotherly Lebanon, and seeks for it to enjoy stability, and for there to be an election of the president and the appointment of a prime minister as soon as possible. He noted that the process has taken a long time, and that the Lebanese people and the Lebanese economy are paying the price for that, which became exhausted due to this political vacuum. He said there are many programmes that Lebanon requires to rebuild the economic system, and Qatar will be one of the supporters of these programmes.
The PM stressed that the political solution to fill the void in Lebanon is in the hands of the Lebanese and no-one else, expressing his hope that the Lebanese parties would overcome the differences between them and think about the interests of Lebanon mainly. With regard to the Lebanese army, he pointed out that Qatar provides continuous support to the Lebanese armed forces, given Qatar views it as an institution that should have its unity and stability maintained, given its importance of the stability of Lebanon.
In a joint press conference with French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna in Doha, HE Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani expressed his happiness at the opening of the second Qatar-France strategic dialogue.