Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary (APPG) British-Qatari Group, Alun Cairns, has affirmed the significance of the visit of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to the United Kingdom, as well as its role in strengthening relations between the two countries and moving them towards broader horizons.
In an interview held in London with the Qatar News Agency (QNA), the former secretary of state for Wales stressed that Qatar is considered one of the most important allies of UK in the Gulf region.
Cairns said that he witnessed during his visit to Qatar how the country turned places designated for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 to host those evacuated from Afghanistan, in a demonstration of the government’s ability to deal with big issues such as the Afghan crisis, and the success of Qatari diplomacy in saving thousands of Western nationals in Afghanistan.
He said that there are few countries around the world that have a “Strategic Dialogue” with Britain, and pointed out the importance of launching a Strategic Dialogue between Doha and London to demonstrate the level of relations between them.
Cairns stressed that the Strategic Dialogue will take relations to new levels, noting that Qatar was the first to stand by Britain after the decision to leave the European Union – renewing its confidence in the British economy.
He recalled witnessing the opening of Qatari South Hook Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal in South Wales, several years ago during his time as the secretary of state for Whales, and noted that, at that time, Qatar supplied Britain with about 30% of its LNG needs.
He also said that Qatari investments in UK, including the Shard Tower, Harrods, and luxury hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton, benefit both sides.
He added that Qatar's investments extended to climate change, with an investment in Rolls-Royce, one of the most important companies in the field of manufacturing small nuclear reactors to generate electricity.
He affirmed that Qatar APPG plays an important role in strengthening relations between the two countries, as well as enhancing relations between the UK Parliament and the Shura Council.
Cairns pointed out that Qatar has come a long way in improving the conditions of labourers, noting that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has commended Qatar's achievements.
With regard to sports and cultural co-operation between the two countries, he said that the relations of the two countries have become stronger and deeper than ever, noting Britain's keenness to support Qatar's efforts in hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022.
Cairns praised the World Cup stadiums and the advanced infrastructure in Qatar, describing the stadiums as outstanding, and added that he was fascinated by both Stadium 974 — built with shipping containers, and the unique architectural style of Al Bayt Stadium.