By Dennis Marray, Gulf Times correspondent/London
The six-month blockade has provided Qatar with the "wake-up call it needed," Qatar ambassador to the UK, Yousef Ali al-Khater, said in London.
Addressing the Qatar National Day celebrations held at The Savoy Hotel, the envoy said he had never felt prouder of his country.
"The population has shown through their resourcefulness and resilience that the country could prosper despite the obstacles put in its way," he declared.
Ambassador al-Khater described the UK as one of Qatar’s "oldest and most important friends." He added: "Qatar is open for business. We are transport hub connecting points across the world.”
Quoting HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, the envoy said: “What distinguishes Qatar in the region is not its wealth, nor its natural resources, nor is it its highrise building. It is the fact that development is at the core of its domestic and foreign policy.”
Alistair Burt, Minister of State for the Department for International Development and Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth office, in his response said:
“Qatar has been a trusted and valued friend to the UK since its independence in 1971. But the partnership goes back long before that – some 200 years from our early trading in the 1820s and of course in our long standing security co-operation going back over 100 years. That strong relationship can be seen reflected in many different ways: our defence co-operation, our common fight against terrorism, and in our regional trade.”
He noted the recent £6bn contract for 24 Typhoon Jets.
He said that he looked forward to returning to Doha soon for an official visit.
He said he hoped that he would be hearing both the Qatar and the UK national anthems playing frequently in the 2022 World Cup. He added to laughter that he particularly looked forward to hearing the UK anthem playing when UK reached the final.
Addressing the ambassador, he said: “You can see by the number of people here the warmth of the relationship - your relationship with the people in the UK which you have built up since you have been ambassador. You can see and sense the warmth towards you. We wish Qatar well.”
He concluded by saying that he hoped that the relations between trusted friends in the Gulf would be restored.
“Gulf unity matters very much – we have many friends in the area and we long for the day when matters can be resolved.”
Qatari artist Nasser al-Attiyah presented a special painting celebrating the strong relations between the UK and Qatar. Also shown at the event were artworks by Iman Abdullah Jassim al-Haidous and Ahmed bin Majed al-Maadheed.
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