There is a lot of potential for further increasing the bilateral co-operation and economic relations between Albania and Qatar, Kujtim Xani, Charge d'affaires at embassy of Albania, said during a recent interview with Gulf Times.
“Trade exchanges between the two countries have yet to reach the desirable levels, despite their great potential, but it is positive that trade has been increasing every year,” he explained.
Both the sides have signed different bilateral agreements to boost trade and economic activities. “Albania is interested in creation of an economic partnership with Qatar through signing and implementation of different agreements such as ‘Promotion and Protection of Investments’ and ‘Avoidance of Double Taxation’, which play significant role in achieving the goal. Areas such as infrastructure, agriculture, agro-industry, renewable energy as well as air and sea transport present great opportunities. We also want investors from Qatar to invest in tourism and real estate sectors in Albania.”
Since establishment of diplomatic relations between Albania and Qatar on August 26, 1992, numerous initiatives have been undertaken in further strengthening and developing the ties on the basis of friendship and co-operation. “Through exchanges of high level governmental delegations and signing of numerous agreements and memorandums, both sides promote and support bilateral co-operation as well as mutual support in international organisations,” said the Albanian head of mission.
People to people exchanges between the two countries have been considered an immensely powerful contributor in strengthening the ties. “Qatar has been visited by a large number of delegations of various levels and fields. Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama along with his team visited Qatar in April 2019 when many bilateral agreements were signed.
“In order to help increase people to people exchanges, the two countries have signed and ratified an agreement for the removal of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic and special passports. For the past five years, during the touristic period – April 1 to October 31 – the visa requirements for all Qataris have been removed. Work is currently underway for the reciprocal elimination of visa requirements for all types of passports between the two countries. Qatar Airways has signalled the start of direct flights between the two countries in the near future, which would further facilitate the travel between the two nations.
Albania has also been trying to increase bilateral cultural exchanges with Qatar. “We have been trying to arrange some cultural activities. We are discussing it with Katara. This year, Qatar is heading the Global Public Diplomacy Network. The invitation is there for non-governmental institutions to take part in the network. European University of Tirana is participating in the network’s activities. Multilateralism is very important. This network introduces culture, history and achievements of every member country.”
The charge d'affaires also appreciated the role of Qatar in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. “Qatar's achievements in the fight within its borders and its global contributions and co-operative efforts against the effects of this pandemic have earned the country a good name. All this is even more impressive as Qatar successfully continues to withstand the unjust blockade.”
"I will also express my heartfelt gratitude for generous assistance and strong support Qatar has given to the Albanian people in dealing with the consequences of the powerful earthquake that struck the country on November 26, 2019. At the same time, I express my deepest appreciation for Qatar’s unreserved support given to my country in the fight against Covid-19.”