In this context, the Amir began the official visit yesterday to Croatia followed by Italy, at the invitation of Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
The Amir is expected to discuss with the leaders and senior officials of both countries the ways to boost and develop the bilateral relations between both countries in various fields, as well as a number of topics of mutual interest.
A number of agreements and memoranda of understanding are to be signed in different fields in both countries.
Qatar and Croatia have growing, unique strategic relations, which are continuously developing in all fields especially trade, economy and investment.
Diplomatic relations between the two states were establish in December 1992 and the Qatari embassy in Zagreb was inaugurated in early 2013, after the opening of Croatia’s embassy in Doha end of 2012, as its first embassy in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC).
Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, in April 2017 paid an official visit to Qatar where she discussed with the Amir promoting the relations between both countries especially in the political, economic, investment and environment field.
The discussion also touched on the most prominent issues regionally and internationally and each country’s stance towards it.
At the end of the discussion, the president awarded the Amir the Grand Order of King Tomislav with Sash and Great Morning Star, which is the highest state order of Croatia.
During her visit, President Kitarovic witnessed the Qatari-Croatian Business Forum, where she hoped that economic and trade co-operation grew to the level of political relations between the two countries, noting that it has nevertheless doubled several times since 2002.
President Kitarovic called on Qatari businessmen to invest in her country, stressing that Croatia is an open country for business, welcoming Qatari investments and provides many investment incentives.
In 2009, His Highness the Father Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser paid an official state visit to Croatia.
In addition, a number of Qatari ministers and officials visited Croatia and held discussion that touched on promoting and developing the relations between both countries, each in their speciality.
In October 2009, the cornerstone of Islamic centre in Rijeka was laid, funded by Qatar.
In 2004, Former president of Croatia Stjepan Mesic visited Qatar for the first time and in 2008 for the second time.
In November 2012, former president of Croatia Ivo Josipovic visited Qatar.
In February 2016, prime minister of Croatia Andrej Plenkovic visited Qatar.
Over the recent years many Croatian ministers, members of the Croatian government, including ministers of foreign affairs, interior and justice, the president of the Croatian Parliament and the Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces visited Qatar.
Since the declaration of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, several agreements and memorandums of understanding have been signed to regulate bilateral relations, including the promotion and protection of investments, tourism, economic and banking co-operation, in the area of human resources development, co-operation in environmental protection and a memorandum of understanding between the Qatar Chamber and the Croatian Economic Chamber, to prevent double taxation and evasion of income tax, as well as in the air transport sector, and energy technology.
The Croatian Economic Chamber also organised several visits to Qatar since 2003, through which it worked to strengthen relations with Qatari partners,and several agreements and memorandums of understanding are being studied to develop co-operation between Doha and Zagreb in many fields and sectors.
In May 2012, Qatar Airways began operating direct flights to Zagreb, which reached 10 flights a week. The Rijeka Islamic Centre was built with an amount of 8mn Euros funded by Qatar, in addition to donations to the Islamic Organisation in Croatia, with the aim of granting scholarships to Croatian students to study in the State of Qatar and granting pilgrimage to the Muslims of Croatia.
There is a great desire to regulate the entry of Croatian companies into the Qatari market.
Croatia is located in central Europe and overlooks the west on the Adriatic Sea, which separates it from Italy, it consists of more than a thousand large and small islands varying in size, of which 48 are permanently inhabited, in addition to the existence of huge water areas and large lakes.
The terrain is varied in Croatia, where there are some mountains in the western regions towards the coast, while the eastern and northern regions are characterised by flat plains.
Many rivers, such as the Danube, the Sava River, the Drava River, the Cuban River, the Mora River and others pass through Croatia.
The population of Croatia about 4.5mn, its area is more than 56,000 sq km.
Croatia, which is located in the European Union and also a member of the European Union, is making great efforts to attract foreign investments in its ongoing attempts to grow the economy and create new jobs.
Zagreb is making efforts in this area to establish a LNG plant on the island of Krk, which is considered by Croatia as a strategic project and which will allow it to diversify energy sources, especially as it seeks to be an important player in supplying the Central and South-Eastern Europe with gas that is the most important source of energy for the foreseeable future.
There is a potential for investment in the production of electricity, 40%which Croatia imports equivalent to 40% of its needs, by the establishment of plants to produce thermal electricity, which works with gas-friendly environment, Croatia is one of the most prominent countries in the world with extensive experience in the field of shipbuilding, which derives from the experiences of the former Yugoslavia (of which Croatia was a part), which was once one of the first countries in the shipbuilding industry, in addition to its significant expertise in the maintenance of floating oil and gas platforms.
In the agricultural sector, Croatia has vast areas of fertile land, particularly in the Slavonia region, which is considered an endless basket of food.
The Croatian tourism sector has huge untapped potential, especially on the islands scattered off the coast, which is considered the centre of Croatian tourism, attracting millions of foreign tourists who visit every summer.