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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Qatar, Russia agree to work together to help end war in Syria

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Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Russian President Vladimir Putin
Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Russian President Vladimir Putin

During his first official visit to Russia this week, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani met President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin to discuss regional politics and the energy market.

According to QNA, the leaders discussed Yemen, Palestine and Libya, and agreed on a need to reach a “satisfactory solution” to the Syrian crisis, a week ahead of planned peace talks in Geneva.

“Russia plays a main role when it comes to stability in the world. We very much want to develop relations with Russia and find a solution to a number of problems related to stability in some countries of our region,” AFP reported Sheikh Tamim as saying at the outset of the meeting.

Russia also gifted the Emir a falcon to mark his first visit to the country:

Syrian settlement

According to analysts, the visit seemed to suggest a narrowing of differences between the two countries on the Syrian crisis.

Meeting with Duma Chairman
Meeting with Duma Chairman

Russia and Qatar have supported opposing sides in the war, which in the past five years has resulted in the death of more than 250,000 people and the homelessness of millions more.

Qatar’s foreign minister Dr. Khaled Al Attiyah also went to Russia – his second visit in a month.

He is reported by Russian government-run news agency TASS as saying that the two leaders “agreed to intensify the efforts to put an end to fighting, killings and hunger among civilians” in Syria and that this should be done quickly to avoid further deterioration of the situation.

And according to a QNA, the Emir said in a meeting with Russian Duma Chairman Sergey Naryshkin:

“We count on friends in Russia to find a solution to the Syrian people’s suffering and political settlement that meets the demands of the Syrian people. Qatar has indeed been supporting a political settlement from the first day.

In addition we support all organizations and international initiatives aimed at finding a political solution in Syria provided that it shall be satisfactory to all parties.”

UN-backed talks between the Syrian government and the opposition are scheduled to take place in Geneva on Jan. 25, with a plan to set up a transitional government by the summer and elections to be held within 18 months.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia and Qatar had also agreed to step up measures to battle terrorism.

“Concrete steps that can facilitate this have been agreed,” he said in televised remarks, without elaborating.

For illustrative purposes only.
For illustrative purposes only.

Sheikh Tamim also called for Russian support in tackling the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in line with a two-state solution, saying: “We count on Russia in helping the Palestinian people to have their legitimate rights and in alleviating the suffering of the people of Gaza,” QNA reported.

The Emir said that while it was important to fight terrorism, “the most important thing is that we have to identify terrorism and the terrorists.”

“Fighting its (terrorism’s) emergence and causes are more important because if we did not fight such matters it will remain existing and we would not be able to end it permanently,” he added.

Gas investment

Economic issues were also on the table, as both sides sought to enhance existing ties, particularly related to oil and gas.

“We need to discuss cooperation and coordination of approaches in the energy sector, particularly in the gas sector (and) look at investment cooperation,” The Kremlin reported Putin as saying during his welcome to the Emir.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The Emir said the two countries had “common interests” particularly in the gas sector, and hinted at further investment.

“We see our investment cooperation as very important. Many positive results have been achieved of late. I am thinking here above all of the cooperation with the RDIF [Russian Direct Investment Fund] in different investment areas,” he said.

The Emir’s visit concludes today.

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