Sweden ‘ready’ to sign MoUs with Qatar in education, health, says envoy
May 20 2017 08:09 PM
Swedish ambassador Ewa Polano
Swedish ambassador Ewa Polano

Sweden “is ready” to sign several memoranda of understanding with Qatar, including MoUs in the fields of education and health, ambassador Ewa Polano has said.

The signing of “several MoUs” would be part of the expected visit of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to the Scandinavian nation “later this year.” “There are several MoUs that are ready to be signed in the fields of education, foreign affairs, health, and other areas,” Polano said.

The ambassador also stressed that the visit of Swedish vice minister of Trade and EU Affairs Oscar Stenstrom last week aims to lay the groundworks for the Emir’s visit. “We want to be better prepared because all that was done during the vice minister’s visit is a very good platform to further develop concrete projects,” Polano pointed out.

This was echoed by Stenstrom, who said: “From the Swedish government’s side, we were prepared to receive His Highness the Emir in the beginning of May but of course my visit here and the work we are doing now will make us better prepared for his visit later this year.”

Stenstrom’s visit to Qatar included meetings with the ministries of Public Health, Municipality and Environment, and Transport and Communications, including institutions like Qatar Investment Authority, as well as other major players in the private sector. He also participated in the Doha Forum 2017.

Stenstrom noted that the meetings revolved around possible visits to Sweden either for tourism or business. Discussions also focused on human rights, Corporate Social Responsibility, and cultural exchange.

He said a project with the Qatar National Museum aims to connect Qatari and Swedish cultures.

“A thousand years ago, we were here bearing Viking helmets and equipment. We have found evidence in Sweden that we were here to conquer this part of the world. And I think that is also important to bridge this narrative and to show that we had contact even before the 10th century,” Stenstrom said.

On his participation in the Doha Forum 2017, Stenstrom said: “We need to bridge the misunderstanding between our two parts of the world. Right now, Sweden has a huge influence from the Muslim world due to high migration.

“Syrian migrants are the highest minority group in Sweden based on the latest statistics. And this would be a huge asset for our kingdom in the future. It would be a challenge but we need a young, skilled labour force so if we manage this correctly, it will also bridge this gap with the Middle East…but we need some peaceful development in Syria first,” he said.

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