By Salman Siddiqui/Staff Reporter
Argentina believes in resolving all contentious issues in the Middle East - such as Palestine and Syria - through the United Nations, the country’s first Ambassador to Qatar, Rossana Surballe, has said in an interview.
Speaking on the occasion of Argentina Meat Week, being held at Sheraton Doha’s Latino restaurant, Surballe said Argentina has already recognised the state of Palestine and generally believes that genuine efforts for peace should be made in the UN.
A few days ago, the ambassador presented her credentials to HH the Emir and became officially the first ambassador from Argentina to hold an office in Qatar. About her meeting, she said it went “very well”.
“Argentina is committed to its bilateral relations with Qatar. We are opening our embassy here and Qatar, too, is opening its embassy in Buenos Aires. I think this will be the beginning of the consolidation of the relationship between the two countries, which is already on good terms,” she said.
She wished for the countries to develop co-operation in various fields, such as trade and investment, construction, education and sports. “Argentina is very interested in Qatari markets. We can offer our services in the food sector as people will witness at our Argentinean Meat Week.”
Surballe said Argentina was also interested in the construction sector in Qatar, where she believed her country’s human resources could be utilised. “We are also very experienced in the oil and gas sector. Argentina also produces petroleum products. We have excellent engineers who can join projects here in Qatar,” she added.
The envoy said there were also discussions on how both countries could promote sports co-operation, especially in football and polo.
She also revealed that there were some Qatari investments in the agricultural sector in Argentina. “We are now seeking Qatari investments in our hydro energy projects.”
When asked about the timing of the opening of Argentina’s embassy, she said: “A lot of people ask why we didn’t open our embassy in Qatar before. Well, we just had some administrative issues to deal with and that’s why it took us so long. Our president had always been interested in opening a full-fledged embassy here from the start,” she said.
Argentina has about 123 international missions around the world. In the Middle East, it has embassies in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and now in Qatar.
There are around 150 Argentineans living in Qatar. Most of them are pilots or flight attendants at Qatar Airways. There are also some doctors, lawyers, architects, chefs and veterinarians.
She also praised Qatar Airways for operating flights to Buenos Aires from Doha with a stopover at Sao Paulo. “It actually provides a link to us to the East and other parts of the world,” she said.
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