By Mudassir Raja
The 176th National Day of the Dominican Republic was recently celebrated with enthusiasm and passion at the Royal Suite of Westin Doha Hotel. The event was well attended by Qatari dignitaries, members of diplomatic community in Doha and the Dominican expatriates.
The prominent guests on the occasion were namely; HE Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Subaie, Minister of Municipality and Environment; Sultan bin Rashid al-Khater, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry; Ibrahim Fakhroo, Director of Protocol; and Ali Ibrahim Ahmed, Ambassador of Eritrea and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, along with ambassadors of other countries based in Qatar.
The formal celebration started with the national anthems of Qatar and the Dominican Republic. The Qatari dignitaries joined Dr Federico Alberto Cuello Camilo, ambassador of the Dominican Republic to Qatar, in the ceremony of cutting a cake. The national day celebration soon turned into a socialising and networking party. People from different walks of life and nationalities got together and enjoyed the traditional Dominican music and cuisine.
Speaking to the gathering, Ambassador Federico thanked his guests and compatriots for joining him and his wife Natalia María Federighi de Cuello on the occasion. “On behalf of Danilo Medina, Constitutional President of the Dominican Republic, and of Miguel Vargas Maldonado, Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic, I am delighted to welcome you tonight to the 176th celebration of the Dominican national day.
“Exactly one year and two days ago I had the privilege of presenting credentials to the Amir of Qatar His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and shortly afterwards I had the immense privilege of hosting some of you for my first national day celebration in Doha.”
The ambassador added: “Since then Natalia and I together with my embassy colleagues have continued to feel the generously warm embrace of Qatari hospitality. We are delighted to reciprocate and are truly grateful for doubling the numbers of last year’s attendance.”
Speaking about the bilateral ties with Qatar, Dr Federico said: “It has been a year of consistent achievements for our bilateral relations, including the first-ever political consultations that set the course for deeper ties in commerce, investment, political co-ordination and of course travel and tourism.
“The commitment is there to subscribe eight agreements ready for signature. The potential is there for us to multiply existing trade flows many times. The vision is clear for Qatar to be the hub for Asian tourism heading for the Dominican Republic and for the Dominican Republic to become the hub for Qatar in the Americas.”
He added: “In structuring the new era in our bilateral relationship, the role of the private sector will be essential. On our side, a new Dominican Chamber of Commerce for the Middle East and North Africa was launched by Foreign Minister Vargas Maldonado last September. Here in Doha, I have the privilege of working with Sheikh Faisal bin Jassim al-Thani of the Madaeen Al Doha Group and his Managing Director Kassem Al Ajineh in the creation of the Dominican Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, which I am told will be the first for a Latin American country.”
Highlighting his erstwhile achievements, the ambassador said: “Whatever I could achieve in my previous posting as the ambassador in London resulted in no small part from the fruitful interaction between our two chambers of commerce. I look forward to replicating the experience here, by organising joint events in Doha and in Santo Domingo, including of course the celebration of Dominican weeks in Qatar and Qatari weeks in the Dominican Republic.”
Speaking about the blockade of Qatar, the ambassador said: “In the meantime, we cannot but admire the continued demonstration of resilience shown by Qatar in the face of the unfair regional situation, while never ceasing to have a constructive presence wherever there is a conflict to mediate or refugees to accommodate.”
Making an optimistic note about the future bilateral ties, he said: “The commitment we have, the potential there is and the vision we share shall cement the destiny of our two countries, which, while small, have big ambitions. Qatar has the highest per capita income in the world and the Dominican Republic in 2019 achieved, again, the highest rate of yearly GDP growth of the Americas. Both are seeking to play a constructive role in international affairs. At the same time, both are committed to SDG compliance by 2030.”
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