Archive for category Qatar
March 15, 2018
Qatar signed yesterday a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Iraq to strengthen security cooperation between the two countries, the Qatar News Agency (QNA) has reported.
The agreement aims to enhance security cooperation and exchanging information and experiences between Qatar and Iraq.
“The MoU between the Qatar and Iraq aims at further joint security cooperation and regulates the coordination process between the two countries, as well as the exchange of information and experience, as Iraq accumulates experience in the security field,” QNA quoted the country’s head of public security, Major General Saad Bin Jassim Al Khulaifi, as saying.
He further explained that it will cover all security-related areas, including training and exchange of information in the field of combating terrorism, money laundry, combating counterfeiting, organised crime, drugs and human trafficking as well as all security of ports and airports.
Praising the “close cooperation between the two countries in all fields,” Al Khulaifi noted that the two parties intend to form a joint committee of specialists to follow up and monitor the implementation of the MoU’s provisions.
Source: Middle East Monitor.
March 14, 2018
Qatar has signed an agreement with Turkey to establish a naval base, Khaleej Online reported today.
The agreement came during the Doha International Maritime Defense Exhibition and Conference (DIMDEX) 2018, which ends today, which was attended by international investors from the US, Europe and China for potential ventures.
Turkey has won a tender to establish the base in northern Qatar, general Hamad Bin Abdullah Al-Futtais Al Marri, commander of Qatar’s joint special forces said. The naval base will include a training center that will primarily take on maritime patrols and monitoring. No other details of the base were revealed.
Turkey will also export six armed, unmanned aerial vehicles or drones to Qatar’s armed forces, and give training services to Qatar’s forces by next year. Qatar wishes to purchase the drones for its own surveillance and tactical reconnaissance needs. Turkey will be assisting a long-term strategy to harness defense knowledge with an agreement to establish an academy for Qatar in association with Turkey’s Piri Reis University.
Qatar has taken a strategic decision to increase its defense and regional security amid an ongoing air, land and sea blockade led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The blockade was levied over extremism and terrorism allegations, which Qatar categorically denied as baseless.
Turkey stepped in, providing Qatar with food and medicine essentials.
In early 2018, the Turkish National Security Council finalized a plan to deploy 60,000 armed soldiers to Qatar in accordance to a 2022 defense plan. Some one hundred soldiers are currently based in Qatar’s Al-Udeid military base since the Saudi-led blockade.
Some 30 Turkish companies are participating in Qatar’s DIMDEX exhibition, showcasing modern military technology.
Source: Middle East Monitor.
March 1, 2018
A spokeswoman for the Qatari foreign ministry said yesterday that her country will not change its policy even if the blockade continues forever.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Lulwa Al Khater, made the remarks at the opening session of an international conference organized by the Middle East Dialogue Center in Brussels.
“The siege imposed on Qatar by regional players has accelerated our relations through several axes, the most important of which was the launching of the Qatari-US strategic dialogue,” Al Khater said, adding that the conference in Brussels “is an opportunity to refute the lies spread by the blockade countries and to respond to those who try to discredit Qatar.”
For his part, the Qatari Ambassador to Belgium, Abdul Rahman Bin Mohammed Al Khulaifi, said the siege gave Qatar power and it could overcome its consequences quickly, adding that the siege now has only effects on the social side while the state succeeded in maintaining its stability and security.
Al Khulaifi explained that Qatar has succeeded in finding alternatives and strategic partnerships to achieve its ambitions.
According to the ambassador, Doha has investments worth about $2 billion in Turkey, while Ankara will support the Qatari economy and participate in the 2022 World Cup projects.
Source: Middle East Monitor.
January 18, 2018
60,000 armed Turkish soldiers will be deployed across four military bases abroad in accordance with a new 2022 plan, The New Khalij reported today.
The Turkish National Security Council finalized the plan yesterday, in order to meet Turkey’s military and commercial interests to support its allies.
Turkey already has 3,000 troops deployed near the Red Sea, in Somalia and a military base in Sudan’s Suakin Island, which is capable of holding some 20,000 military personnel for five years. 200 Turkish soldiers have been deployed in Somalia since October last year, training Somalia’s military.
In addition to some hundred soldiers currently based in Qatar’s Al-Udeid military base since shortly after the blockade on Qatar, Turkey plans to deploy more to fulfill its 2022 plan. The number has not publicly been disclosed.
Qatar announced today that Turkish commercial firms will be given priority for business during the World Cup in 2022, to be held in the capital of Qatar, Doha.
Some 112 companies from a variety of sectors will be attending Expo Turkey by Qatar, co-organized with Turkey’s Independent Industrialists and Business people’s’ Association (MUSIAD). Turkish and Qatari commercial firms have already signed business agreements worth some 60 million dollars.
Source: Middle East Monitor.
December 05, 2017
KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Kuwait’s emir on Tuesday quickly called an end to a planned two-day meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council within hours of its start amid the ongoing diplomatic dispute surrounding Qatar.
The sudden end of the meeting in Kuwait City raised new questions about the future of the GCC, a six-member Gulf Arab regional bloc formed in part to be a counterbalance to Shiite power Iran. Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah’s decision came after the United Arab Emirates earlier in the day announced a new partnership with Saudi Arabia separate from the GCC.
The Emirati Foreign Ministry said the new “joint cooperation committee” was approved by the UAE’s ruler and president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayhan. The ministry said the new committee “is assigned to cooperate and coordinate between the UAE and Saudi Arabia in all military, political, economic, trade and cultural fields, as well as others, in the interest of the two countries.”
The UAE and Saudi Arabia have cultivated close ties in recent years. Emirati troops are deeply involved in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince, Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nayhan, also is believed to be close to Saudi Arabia’s young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Emirati announcement did not say whether any other Gulf Arab countries would be invited to join the new group, but the development puts pressure the GCC, whose members — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Emirates — are all U.S. allies.
The United States and its European allies have told the council’s members that the region remains stronger with them working together as a whole, while the countries themselves still appear divided over their future.
The fact the GCC meeting in Kuwait was to take place at all is a bit of a surprise, given the unusually sharp criticism among the typically clubby members of the GCC pointed at Doha. The dispute began in June, following what Qatar described as a hack of its state-run news agency and the circulation of incendiary comments attributed to its ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Soon after, GCC members Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates closed off their airspace and seaports to Qatar, as well as the small peninsular nation’s sole land border with Saudi Arabia.
The boycott initially riled Doha, though it soon replaced food products with those flown in from Turkey and Iran. However, Qatar’s foreign reserves have dropped by some $10 billion — a fifth of their value — since the dispute began. Those reserves are crucial in supporting the nation’s riyal, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar, as well as funding the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup that Doha will host.
The boycotting nations allege Qatar funds extremist groups and has too-cozy ties to Iran. Qatar has long denied funding extremists but it restored full diplomatic ties with Iran during the crisis. Doha shares a massive offshore natural gas field with Tehran that gives its citizens the highest per-capita income in the world.
A similar dispute involving Qatar erupted in 2014. But this time positions have hardened against Qatar, whose support for Islamist opposition groups has angered the Arab nations now boycotting it. The UAE in particular views Islamists as a threat to hereditary rule in its federation of seven sheikhdoms. Egypt, angered by Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood and the nation’s deposed President Mohammed Morsi, is also boycotting Doha.
The U.S., which has some 10,000 troops stationed at Qatar’s sprawling al-Udeid Air Base as part of its campaign against the Islamic State group and the war in Afghanistan, also has sought to end the crisis. Its military has halted some regional exercises to put pressure on the GCC to resolve the crisis. However, President Donald Trump in the meantime made comments seemingly supporting the Arab nations’ efforts at isolating Qatar, complicating those efforts.
A Trump-prompted call in September between Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim and the Saudi crown prince that offered a chance at negotiations also broke down in mutual recriminations. Kuwait’s 88-year-old emir, Sheikh Sabah, has tried to mediate the dispute, so far without success.
Tuesday’s meeting in Kuwait City was to be a summit of the region’s rulers. However, only Qatar and Kuwait were represented by their ruling emirs, sparking anger online by Kuwaitis that the nations boycotting Qatar had slighted their leader.
Despite the troubles, Sheikh Sabah tried to stay positive. “I would like to congratulate all the people of the GCC nations for our success in holding this summit, proving how committed we are to this establishment and continuity,” he said.
After a closed-door meeting lasting around 15 minutes, Sheikh Sabah announced the end of the summit to applause.
Associated Press writers Hussain al-Qatari and Malak Harb contributed to this report.
October 13, 2017
PARIS (AP) — The election of UNESCO’s new chief has been narrowed down to two candidates, one from Qatar and the other from France. The winner to be selected on Friday will succeed outgoing Director-General Irina Bokova, whose 8-year term leading the U.N. cultural agency was marred by financial woes and criticism over Palestine’s inclusion as a member.
The final vote comes the day after the U.S. and Israel said they plan to pull out of the Paris-based organization over perceived anti-Israel bias. Qatar’s Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari and France’s Audrey Azoulay are vying to get the needed 30 votes from UNESCO’s executive board.
Arab countries have long wanted to lead the organization, but the Palestine issue has complicated the election. UNESCO’s general assembly will have to sign off on the board’s pick.
October 11, 2017
The number of cargo vessels arriving at Hamad Port in Doha rose by 47.3 per cent in August, Qatar News Agency has reported.
According to the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, the figure was 162 vessels carrying around 1.3 million tons of goods. The ministry’s monthly report showed that in the same period the total number of vessels in all of Qatar’s ports was just over 600, carrying about 3.9 million tons.
The Director of Hamad Port, Abdul Aziz Al-Yafei, announced last month that the port authority plans to accommodate more than 1,000 vessels by the end of this year, and about one million containers. Al-Yafie explained that work is underway to make Hamad Port a major re-export hub in the region.
The Hamad Port only opened officially on 5 September. It aims to acquire 35 per cent of the total Middle East trade by next year.
Source: Middle East Monitor.