By Ayman Adly /Staff Reporter
Serbia is keen to maintain closer relations with Qatar on various levels in all fields as mutual co-operation between the two countries has constantly been on the rise, Serbian ambassador Jasminko Pozderac said yesterday.
Speaking to Gulf Times, the envoy explained both countries have signed a number of agreements to further boost their good relationship, including an agreement to protect mutual investments, which was approved by the Serbian lawmakers and endorsed by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
“There are big investment opportunities for Qataris in Serbia, particularly in the real-estate field, where some Qataris already own hotels and the government welcomes more Qatari investment in this field and others,” he said.
Ambassador Pozderac said his country is ready to co-operate further with Doha in the sport field as Serbia enjoys a great experience, which could be of good use for the upcoming FIFA 2022 World Cup in Doha. There is already a co-operation agreement signed by Qatar’s Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Serbian Ministry of Youth and Sport.
“I used to be the director of Serbia Institute of Sports before becoming the first ambassador of Serbia to Doha, and during that time, we signed a co-operation agreement with Aspetar Doha,” he recalled.
More than 2,500 highly educated Serbian professionals live in Doha. “Since I came to Doha as ambassador three years ago, I have never heard anything negative from the Serbian community. They are all happy and well-established here,” he stressed. The ambassador believes that both countries are on the right path for more co-operation with very positive indicators including the exemption of both countries’ citizens from visa requirement.
The number of Serbian tourists visiting Doha has been recently on the rise due to the easy access. In the field of cultural exchange, Serbian performers has been coming to Doha during several occasions since 2002, with the most recent performance in Katara the Culture Village Foundation a few days ago being well received.
Plans are in place for Qatari troupes to perform in Serbia and show the Qatari heritage, especially since some hotels there are owned by Qatari investors.
In the meantime, high level exchange of visits between the two countries took place including a visit of the President of Serbia to Doha in 2016 and that of HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani and other senior officials to Serbia in 2017. A Qatari business delegation visited Serbia in October last year and a business delegation of Serbia Chamber of Commerce is scheduled to visit Doha and Qatar Chamber late next month. This is expected to increase the bilateral investment and volume of trade.
“Serbia has many quality products, especially in agriculture to offer to Doha at considerably good prices for the consumers,” he stressed.
To take the bilateral relations to even higher levels, the ambassador said: “We are preparing for His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani’s visit to Serbia, which could take place by the end of this year or early next year. This would have significant impact on boosting relations further.”
Regarding the ongoing unjust blockade against Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, the Serbian envoy expressed his support for the sovereignty and independence and hoped for a just resolution, as the integrity of the GCC is of great importance for peace and stability in the region.
He also expressed his admiration and appreciation for the wise diplomacy of His Highness the Amir since the first hours of the crisis on June 5, 2017, which sets an exemplary model for ethical politics.
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