HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani on Thursday hailed Qatar-French relations, calling France a strategic partner of Qatar.
The Prime Minister was speaking at a joint press conference with his French counterpart Edouard Philippe at the Amiri Diwan.
At the outset of the conference, the Prime Minister welcomed Philippe and thanked him for participating in the official opening of the National Museum of Qatar, highlighting that Qatar cherishes the distinguished relations with the French Republic established more than 40 years ago.
He said their talks on Thursday were part of a series of meetings seeking to promote relations under the leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Sheikh Abdullah said during the talks the two sides exchanged views on various issues and reviewed bilateral relations.
He said one of the main issues discussed was economic co-operation as both countries have capabilities especially since the Qatari investments in France are increasing in different fields, mostly in energy, real estate and sports.
HE the Prime Minister said French investments and companies in Qatar play a significant role especially since Qatar has created an appropriate environment for foreign investments through suitable legislations, establishing free zones and issuing laws on foreigners' property ownership and permanent residence.
He added that Qatar looks forward to higher investments and trade volume with France.
The Prime Minister said, during the talks they discussed co-operation in organising the 2022 World Cup and security issues related to fighting terrorism and cybercrimes and the role of French companies which will work on completing the infrastructure and projects for the event.
He said Qatar aims to organise a remarkable tournament and wished the French team good luck.
The Prime Minister said several agreements were signed on Thursday, which would further strengthen bilateral relations and co-operation to achieve the common interests of both countries.
Referring to political issues, Sheikh Abdullah said the two sides discussed the current Gulf crisis, as Qatar values the positive stance of the French government since the beginning of the crisis, and its call for resolving it through dialogue.
He said the two sides also discussed the Palestinian issue, adding Qatar and France share a common vision that it is impossible to have stability in the Middle East or the world unless there is a just and comprehensive solution to the issue through implementing the international legitimacy resolutions, complying with the concept of a two-state solution and establishing the State of Palestine on the basis of 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The Prime Minister called on the international community to make sincere efforts to find peaceful solutions to the crises in Syria, Libya and Yemen, and to preserve the unity of these countries and meet the aspirations of their peoples for security, stability and freedom.
In the context of combating terrorism, Sheikh Abdullah said the two countries' vision is identical in rejecting terrorism, noting that Qatar spares no effort in combating terrorism at the national, regional and international levels.
The French prime minister extended thanks to the Amir for his hospitality. He also thanked Sheikh Abdullah for the cordial reception and the lengthy discussions they had, pointing out that this was his first official visit to Qatar.
Philippe stressed the importance of the relations between the two countries and the convergence of their visions on many issues. He also underlined the development of the Qatari economy and its diversity, which enhances the partnership between Qatar and France. The French leader praised Qatar's cultural aspirations, which were manifested in joining the International Organisation of the Francophonie as an associate member.
He said the focus of his visit was on encouraging cultural and sports co-operation, as he represented the French President and attended the opening ceremony of the National Museum of Qatar.
The French Prime Minister also said he would visit several 2022 World Cup stadiums.
The visit also focuses on encouraging investments as France is Qatar’s third largest trading partner in Europe. The visit is focusing also on Doha Metro project, which employs several French officials, as well as aspects of economy, investment and industry relations between the two countries.
On terrorism and the crises in the region, Philippe said France and Qatar are working together to root out the scourge and resolve the crises in the troubled region, stressing that the international community has made important steps in the war on terrorism after the announcement of IS defeat in Syria.
The French prime minister also stressed that the Gulf crisis can only be solved through dialogue and diplomatic means.
He said the two countries should work together to promote exchanges in educational, scientific, economic and research fields, and a common and secured future.
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