Ayman Adly/Staff Reporter
The ongoing unjust blockade imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt since June 5, 2017 should be lifted as soon as possible for the well-being and stability of the whole region, Serbian ambassador to Qatar Jasminko Pozderac has said.
He has lauded Qatar's response throughout the Gulf crisis.
Speaking to Gulf Times, Pozderac stressed that regardless of the causes and justifications mentioned by the quartet for the blockade, continuity of the crisis would have a negative impact on the security and stability of the region.
"Also, the blockade against Qatar has resulted in serious humanitarian consequences, including the division and separation of joint GCC families and limitations on the freedom of movement of Qataris, which cannot be justified as well," the envoy said.
Observing that Serbia had a bad experience with sanctions, he said: "We do not see sanctions and blockades as appropriate ways to resolve disputes among countries. We hope that an ultimate solution could be reached through dialogue while respecting international laws and regulations, in particular maintaining the sovereignty of countries and not interfering in the internal affairs of others."
The ambassador expressed appreciation for Qatar's response throughout the crisis, describing it as "well-organised, quiet, highly ethical and self-contained".
"We have seen that Qatar's economy remains strong in spite of the ongoing blockade and economic growth is steadily continuing as all indicators are positive. Also, the process of diversifying the local economy is going on successfully," said Pozderac.
The envoy referred to the mediation efforts of Kuwait's Amir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, hoping that his efforts would result in a positive resolution of the Gulf crisis soon.
Further, he indicated that Saudi Arabia as the largest country in the GCC should lead efforts to get the members together and unite them in the best interest of the whole region.
He described Qatar as a safe and stable country with good standards of living for all its inhabitants, due to the wise leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, who clearly enjoys the full support and love of all the people in Qatar.
The envoy said the recently launched Doha Metro service is an excellent example on how the country invests heavily to improve the living standards of its inhabitants.
Regarding the development of Qatar-Serbia bilateral ties, he stressed that the two countries enjoy true friendship and have excellent relations.
"Our relations are going into deeper levels, especially at the cultural level, which I think is very important for the people of the two countries to understand each other and get closer to each other's culture, history and traditions," he added.
Accordingly, Qatar National Library and National Library of Serbia will connect with each other to have a fruitful co-operation and a memorandum of understanding will be signed soon in this regard, according to the ambassador.
Also, he hopes that the same will be the case with the recently opened National Museum of Qatar and the National Museum of Serbia.
There is also good working cooperation between the two countries in the sports and arts fields.
A Serbian folk dance troupe came to Qatar a few months ago to perform at Katara — the Cultural Village Foundation and, within a few months, Qatari folk dance troupes are expected to take part in a dance festival in Belgrade, Serbia, which will also have the participation of some neighbouring countries there.
Citizens of both Qatar and Serbia can travel to each other's countries easily without prior visa requirements, which has dramatically increased the exchange of visits, he stressed.
In April, 12 Serbian companies held meetings at Qatar Chamber with Qatari businesspersons and companies, and a good number of agreements were reached for investments in both countries, Pozderac recalled.
In addition, he pointed out that Qatari businesses are willing to exchange experiences with their Serbian counterparts in all relevant fields and benefit from each other.
Qatar is also set to take part at the 141st Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Belgrade on October 13-17, which would further reflect positively on efforts to enhance bilateral relations.
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