February 23, 2024

Qatar, Germany launch strategic dialogue

Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Wednesday signed a MoU on the establishment of a strategic dialogue between the two countries.

The Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs affirmed the remarkable development witnessed by the bilateral relations between Qatar and Germany in various fields since the start of relations between them in 1973, noting that the visit of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Germany Annalena Baerbock is the culmination of 50 years of diplomatic relations and cooperation between the two countries.

During a joint press conference with Baerbock on Wednesday, the PM said the discussions between both sides covered a number of topics, including strengthening cooperation and upgrading relations in various fields, whether in energy, environment, education, and other issues, as well as a number of regional security issues.

The PM said Qatar aspires to establish a mechanism that promotes the establishment of joint projects with Germany.

The PM also said that he had discussed with the German Foreign Minister the stabilization of the ceasefire in Gaza and the provision of aid to the Palestinian people, reaffirming Qatar’s condemnation of the bombing of civilians in the Gaza Strip.

The PM also welcomed the agreement signed in Jeddah between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces, pointing out, on the other hand, Qatar’s respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

The PM said Qatar does not want to deviate from the Arab consensus regarding the return of Syria to the League of Arab States, provided that each country maintains its sovereign decision in terms of normalizing relations with the Syrian government.

His Excellency added Qatar views the only way to normalize relations with the Syrian regime will be by finding a fair and comprehensive solution to the Syrian issue, noting that there are issues that joint Arab work agrees on the goals in terms of having a safe return for refugees, and finding a political solution based on UN resolution no. 2254.

The PM also touched on the coordination between GCC countries, in addition to Egypt, the Kingdom of Jordan, and Iraq on Syria, His Excellency said that the difference was in the stances rather than goals, noting that it was normal to have different views over how to achieve those goals.

The Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs stressed that Qatar supports all constructive efforts to achieve those goals, and that the normalization of relations with the regime serves as a step to achieve them as well.

He said that the issue was between the Syrian regime and its people, ad that there must be a solution that regains Syria’s stability and satisfies its people who struggled with war over the past 12 years. He reiterated that Qatar does not give weight to criticism directed at it haphazardly.

With regard to the Afghan file, the PM, said in response to a question by Al-Jazeera news channel, that he discussed with the German foreign minister the developments in the Afghan arena and its latest developments, in both its security and political aspects, where it was emphasized the necessity to continue with the international community to cooperate to strengthen the capabilities of the people and enable them to avoid any internal crises, as well as moving forward in building peace, respecting human rights, especially women’s rights, providing education for girls and achieving development for all segments of Afghan society.

With regard to Afghanistan, the PM responded to a question by Al Jazeera on the issue and said that he discussed with the German Minister of Foreign Affairs developments in Afghanistan in terms of security and political aspects of the issue. Both sides stressed the importance of having the international community continue cooperating to enhance the capabilities of the people and empower them against any internal crises, and the importance of moving forward in building peace, respecting human rights, especially women’s rights, providing education for girls and achieving development for all segments of Afghan society.

On Qatar-German partnership in the field of gas and the signing of long term deals and whether there are negotiations with other European Union countries, the PM said the partnership between Qatar and Germany was a commercial one between companies. He noted that this was Qatar’s energy policy. QatarEnergy signed an agreement with a group of German companies to provide energy.

The PM said that Qatar looks forward to enhance cooperation in this field, and at the governmental level to enhance dialogue over cooperation in the energy field general and energy transition policies. His Excellency said that energy transition is global priority, but that standards may be different from one country to the other. He also noted that there is an opportunity for cooperation and building the capabilities of all countries to ensure a safe energy transition with agreed upon frameworks to achieve the national interests and international interests for the European Union countries.

For her part, Baerbock praised the bilateral relations and said that both sides agreed to intensify cooperation by establishing a new strategic dialogue.

She said that talks with the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs dealt with various political and economic issues, in addition to peace, stability and the Russian-Ukrainian war.

She pointed out that there are many points that unite Qatar and Germany, including concern about stability in the Middle East and not just Europe, in addition to developments in Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The German minister said that Doha and Berlin will cooperate to secure energy supplies, adding that the two countries are keen for this economic partnership to prevail. She also called for expanding global cooperation in the renewable energy sector.

She also thanked Qatar for its repatriation operation in Afghanistan, praising also the progress made by the State of Qatar in the field of human rights, adding that was a role model in this field, particularly due to its cooperation with the International Labor Organization.

She said that reforms don’t happen suddenly, but that having a clear political direction is important in this regard, noting that it was something Germany and Europe senses.

She also said that the improvement of human rights conditions is something that benefits all workers.

In a related aspect, she pointed out that her country is carrying out reforms to immigration law, and therefore it is in need of people and minds to help it in the areas of care, communication and others, indicating that all this will only be achieved by providing attractive working conditions.

She also indicated that Germany seeks to organise and strengthen European relations with GCC, noting that her current visit to the region confirms this, just as she indicated her country’s need for new foreign investments based on fair rules, and within the framework of the rule of law, the rules of the World Trade Organization and the laws of the United Nations, to make those investments reliable and sustainable.