*Tourism between Qatar and Russia doubled after 2018 World Cup
*2022 World Cup infrastructure projects on track despite pandemic
*Qatar able to deal with economy in pandemic, thanks to its expertise
*State working to increase investment in green and sustainable energy
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani Friday said that Qatar was one of the largest foreign investors in Russia, with diversified investments amounting to more than $13bn, looking forward to doubling them in the future and stressing Qatar's confidence in the Russian economy.
His Highness the Amir said this while participating via videoconferencing in the discussion session of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF 2021) with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
The Amir pointed out that tourism between the two countries doubled during Qatar-Russia Cultural Year after the 2018 World Cup.
In the field of the future of energy, His Highness the Amir explained that Qatar plays a major role in distributing gas around the world and invests huge investments in it, noting that its gas production will increase by 40% by 2026 and that Qatar is co-operating with international energy companies, including Rosneft.
His Highness the Amir indicated that Qatar will host in the coming months a conference of gas exporting countries to discuss clean energy developments and co-operation in this field.
He explained that Qatar's responsibility towards the environment is great as a country that depends on gas and energy, therefore, the fourth pillar of Qatar National Vision is related to the environment and its protection.
Concerning the exchange of experiences between Qatar and Russia in sports, the Amir said that Russia set high standards in its successful organisation of the 2018 World Cup, praising Russia's opening all its doors at that time to Qatari organisers working in the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy to exchange experiences with their Russian counterparts.
His Highness the Amir affirmed Qatar's full readiness to host the 2022 World Cup and that the construction and infrastructure projects of the tournament were not affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, a year and a half ahead of the hosting date, noting that Qatar will host the FIFA Arab Cup in November, which is a trial before the World Cup.
With regard to his vision about the world after the Covid-19 pandemic, His Highness the Amir said that while many countries were affected by the pandemic economically, Qatar was proudly able to deal with it, thanks to the strength of its economy and its expertise.
The Amir praised the international co-operation in the manufacture and distribution of vaccines, calling for the need to facilitate the delivery of vaccines to all parts of the world to eliminate the pandemic.
He hoped that the world will return to pre-pandemic normality, but after gaining experience in dealing with anything in the future.

Earlier, His Highness the Amir participated in the main session of the SPIEF 2021 along with of HE Russian President Vladimir Putin, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.



HH the Amir delivered the following speech via videoconferencing:

In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate
Your Excellency President Vladimir Putin,
Your Excellency Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, it gives me pleasure to extend many thanks to His Excellency President Vladimir Putin for his kind invitation to us to participate in this Forum held in this ancient city known for producing culture, literature and art and resisting occupation — and for choosing the State of Qatar as the guest State at the Forum.
This Forum is being held against the backdrop of great economic conditions and challenges at the local, regional and international levels, especially amid the on-going Covid-19 pandemic and its serious negative repercussions on the global economy, which have doubled the need for convening the Forum as it has become an important global event in the field of economics and business.
This Forum is considered also as a paradigm for the initiatives that should be undertaken by the international community to contribute to establishing a sound environment for the regional and global economy and investment, and to finding effective solutions to common economic challenges.
The broad international participation in this Forum undoubtedly reflects the prestigious position assumed by Russia in the region and the world.
Honourable Audience,
We in the State of Qatar take pride in the strong historical relations with the Russian Federation.
These relations have witnessed a concrete development over the last two decades in various political and economic fields, especially in trade and investment domains as the State of Qatar has assumed an advanced position on foreign investors list in Russia.
In this context, we value our active co-operation in the economic sphere, especially in the energy field, and in confirmation of our confidence in the robustness of the Russian economy and the importance of investing in it, the volume of Qatar's investments in Russia has doubled in recent years, and we look forward to increasing it in the coming years.
The economic co-operation between Qatar and Russia is not limited to direct investments, but rather goes beyond that to include co-ordination to create the necessary international regulatory frameworks to promote this co-operation, and I point out here that the two countries have established, together with other friendly countries, the Doha-based Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF).
Honourable Audience,
The State of Qatar is going through a significant stage in its overall development by means of implementing its national strategies, numerous programmes and projects in accordance with the Qatar National Vision 2030, and I confirm that the main driving force of Qatar's economy at this phase is the investments in infrastructure and development projects, especially in education, health, transportation, research, small and medium enterprises, etc.
We seek to achieve progress in economic diversification and to focus on increasing private sector investments in all economic sectors by providing incentives, offering partnership projects between the public and private sectors, and attracting direct foreign investments.
I point out here that the development projects in the State of Qatar provide great opportunities for foreign companies to increase their participation in Qatar's economy in various sectors.
Over the recent years we have developed and introduced pivotal amendments to many legislations that enhance private sectors participation and attract foreign investments, which have contributed to creating an attractive environment for investment.
The State of Qatar is working to increase investment in green and sustainable energy, and other areas that will contribute to preserving the environment and combating climate change.
Honourable Audience,
The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the extent to which the lives of peoples and their destinies in our modern world are intertwined and correlated.
It has been proven that no country can alone confront a catastrophe of the magnitude of this pandemic, and that investing in research to fight it and prevent similar outbreaks in the future must be an international effort, and that the international community must work hard and diligently to make vaccines and treatment accessible to all, especially the poor peoples or those who face upheavals and wars, for it is not acceptable to subjugate people's health to the laws of the market and global trade.
On this occasion, I commend Russia's role in producing and distributing vaccines.
On the other hand, strengthening the economy, investment and the values of innovation, work and production, together with promoting common human values, is the means to build the necessary potentials to fight the pandemic and overcome other global problems such as climate change.
It is also the path for people to restore their normal life that they miss since the outbreak of the pandemic.
It will also support our health institutions, scientific research and make vaccination possible for all inhabitants of this planet.
In this context, we call on the private sector in Russia and the world to explore the promising Qatari business environment in many projects and in various fields.
In conclusion, I reiterate my thanks to His Excellency President Vladimir Putin for his kind invitation to us to participate in this Forum and for choosing the State of Qatar as the guest State at the Forum, hoping that it will achieve its desired goals, and wishing our two countries more fruitful cooperation.
May God's peace, mercy and blessings be upon you.
The main session of the Forum in St Petersburg was attended by a number of their excellencies ministers, ranking political and economy officials, experts, and executives of companies from Qatar, Russia, and the world. 
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