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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Qatari-US Strategic Dialogue: 2021 to be joint ‘Year of Culture’

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New opportunities and further cooperation between the countries announced in the third annual dialogue.

High-level talks in Washington between senior Qatari officials and their American counterparts saw the signing of a number of new agreements including one declaring 2021 as the ‘Year of Culture’.

Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, said that the signing of these deals exhibits the deep ties between both nations.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shared the same sentiment, praising the relationship between Doha and Washington.

“The MoU (memorandum of understanding) emphasises that our partnership has grown beyond just defense and economics into one of true friendship and community between our people and our two countries,” said Pompeo.

Al-Thani added that the 2021 events will involve a roadshow with several US delegations to explore partnerships in a number of different areas, including technology, investment and energy.

“[The MoU signings] underscore our continued constructive engagement despite the unique regional challenges our country has been successfully managing over the last three years,” said Al Thani.

The blockade has been a recurring topic in previous Doha-Washington talks. Despite initially taking credit for the Saudi-UAE led embargo on Qatar, the US has since been publicly stating it wanted to see an end to the Gulf crisis. Ahead of America’s Presidential elections, the Trump administration has been even more vocal in calling for a resolution to the regional division, stating that an end to the blockade would facilitate further cooperation between Qatar and the US.

Read also: US official claims Qatar blockade to end ‘in weeks’ 

Previous years of culture

Launched in 2012, the Year of Culture is a program initiated by Qatar Museums (QM), which showcases the country’s close relations with friendly nations while promoting the exploration and exchange of cultures between peoples.

2020 was billed as the Qatar-France year of culture, while last year, the event focused on Qatari-Indian relations and heritage, celebrating the similarities and differences between the countries. Previous collaborations also included Russia, Germany, China, Turkey, Brazil, the UK and Japan.

“The years of culture initiative reflects upon and reflects Qatar’s past, present and future by creating and interpreting culture through art,” said Safiya Al Hajari, QM Director of Strategic Cultural Relations, in a previous statement.

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