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Saturday, December 4, 2021

Spain ‘trusts in Qatar’s role’ to stabilise situation in Afghanistan: FM


Spain pledged over $23,000,000 [20 million Euros] at an international donor conference on Monday aimed at alleviating the suffering of Afghans.

Qatar and Spain reiterated the importance of addressing the dire humanitarian situation in Afghanistan that has worsened in light of the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul last month, with the Spanish FM pointing to Doha for its ongoing role in stabilising developments.

In a joint press conference in Doha, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and his Spanish counterpart José Manuel Albares called on the international community to not politicise humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan while discussing joint cooperation in addressing the latest developments in Kabul.

This came as some world powers showed hesitancy in providing aid to the conflict-and-corruption-ridden country due to the emergence of the Taliban as its new rulers.

“For Spain and the EU, there are three points that we want to see in Afghanistan: freedom of movement for our collaborators, delivering humanitarian assistance, creating a space for human rights especially women and girls,” Albares told the press on Tuesday.

With travel and freedom of mobility sticking to the top of all international agendas concerning Afghanistan, Albares said ensuring the safe exit of those who worked with Spain remains a priority.

“We will not leave anyone behind. We are deeply concerned about the latest situation in Afghanistan and we trust in Qatar’s key role to help stabilise the situation,” said the Spanish diplomat.

Over the last few weeks, Qatar and Turkey have been working to ensure Hamid Karzai International Airport resumes operations, with technical teams from the two countries working to repair damages at the airport.

While the airport is currently operational, Qatar’s foreign minister said that some areas still need to be addressed clearly as repairing the airport comes with its own set of complications.

“Right now the discussions are only among us, Turkey and the Taliban,” noted Sheikh Mohammed.

Qatar’s monetary assistance to Afghanistan to reach $50 million: official

Qatar has managed to take a leading role in evacuations from Afghanistan over the past month, with at least 50,000 evacuated from the country, including Afghans and foreign nationals.

Responding to a question regarding the cost of evacuations, Qatar’s foreign minister said that evacuations “cannot be quantified as a cost”.

“Regarding the cost of the evacuation for the state of Qatar, actually it’s an international cooperation and Qatar bared part of the cost in helping the people and supporting our allies and I think this cannot just be quantified as a cost, but it also helped in save the lives of vulnerable people,” said the Qatari diplomat.

Earlier, Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad Al Muraikhi said his country’s recent financial contributions and assistance to support Afghanistan are expected to reach $50 million.

A medical aid shipment from the World Health Organisation [WHO] was also shipped on a Qatar Airways aircraft from Doha on Monday morning.

The latest comments came just a day after Spain pledged over $23,000,000 [20 million Euros] to Afghanistan at a global donor conference, adding to more than $1 billion from world powers.

Meanwhile Qatar and Spain’s foreign ministers also discussed regional topics of common concern, including Palestine, in addition to bilateral ties between the two states.

“Qatar is today one of the largest foreign investors in Spain and we have worked together and continue to do so in many areas,” noted Spain’s foreign minister.

Albares also praised Qatar’s preparations for the FIFA World Cup 2022, saying he hopes to see more Qatari tourists in Spain.

“We are committing to strengthening our partnership in the framework of the new recovery plan in Spain’s economy,” said Albares, saying he hopes to receive Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Madrid soon.

Shortly before the press conference, Albares met with the amir.

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