UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Liz Truss has underlined the strength of the relations between Qatar and the United Kingdom, adding the two sides are looking forward to promoting and developing them to achieve their common interests and the interests of the two friendly peoples.
Speaking to Qatar News Agency (QNA), the UK foreign secretary said: "It's 50 year since we established our first relations with Qatar and we have a very strong relationship. But what I want to do is move that to a new level."
She added: "I had a very good discussions today with His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and with HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani as well about how we can do that through a strategic dialogue. There are a number of areas we are very keen to intensify our co,-operation, enabling education, trade; we are of course negotiating with the GCC and also with Qatar. Areas like defence and security are of course very important. So I think there are a number of areas were we can deepen our relationship to the benefit of both countries."
"This strategic dialogue is putting a framework in place so we can progress our relationship in all these different areas I mentioned like security, education, trade, investment; we are very interested in working with Qatar on investing in third countries, particularly in areas like green energy. What the strategic dialogue is putting in place is a mechanism where we can achieve real results between our countries," Truss explained.
She praised the modernisation process that Qatar is witnessing at all levels and in various fields. Truss said: "We see Qatar as one of our key allies. This is the reason this is one of my first visits as Foreign Secretary is that I think Qatar's relationship is important. I think Qatar wants to built that positive economic relationship with other countries as the United Kingdom does. We see that as helping other countries get on their feet and the population in these countries are prospering."
On her vision of the developments in Afghanistan, she explained, "We are all very concerned about Afghanistan. We can't have the country falling into a humanitarian crisis or becoming a hot bed of terrorism. What we need to do is to hold Taliban to the promises they made, including having an inclusive government and working with our friends and allies, including those in the region like Qatar to ensure the country remain stable."
Truss praised the great work done by Qatar and its active role in the evacuations from Afghanistan after the Taliban movement took control of the government, adding, "I think Qatar has an important role to play and Qatar has been leading on the evacuation efforts and also very involved in talks on the future of Afghanistan."
"Today I visited the evacuee centre here in Doha. The Qataris have done a fantastic job in helping evacuate people from Afghanistan, in looking after the children and families in the evacuation centre. We are very grateful...one of the things I did today is say thank you for the work that they have done and the help they given, including to United Kingdom's citizens," she said.
She added, "We have a representative here in Doha who is working very closely with the Qatari government and others to ensure that we are bringing our citizens out of Afghanistan and at the same time working with neighbours in the international community to stabilise the situation in Afghanistan, because what we all want is an Afghanistan where people are able to live freely and prosper. That is what everybody wants to see happen. So we are working closely with our partners to achieve that."
In answer to a question regarding how to overcome the tensions and instability in the region, Truss said: "My view is that when we increase our economic partnership, when we trade more with each other, when we invest in each other countries, when we work together, when we help our population become more prosperous, that is the way we prevent conflict and we prevent mass migration and we prevent difficult things happening. So, I think economic co-operation and security co-operation are very important."