The Spanish Embassy in Doha highlighted the exceptional relations between Qatar and Spain in various areas of cooperation on the occasion of Spain’s National Day on Tuesday.
“Bilateral relations between Qatar and Spain remain excellent and inspired by the strong affection between the two royal families,” Spanish Ambassador Belen Alfaro said in a statement.
Citing the two ministerial visits to Spain this year, she noted that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, JosÃ© Manuel Albares, had met His Highness Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, September 14.
The envoy added that His Highness the Amir also met with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez “to express his solidarity with the Kingdom of Spain after the eruption of the volcano in La Palma and to discuss bilateral, regional developments and international â.
Alfaro underlined the importance of Spain’s historical ties with the Arab world, especially in the fields of education and cultural cooperation, due to the Arab heritage and the legacy of Al-Andalus .
She said that Qatar and Spain signed an agreement this year to further strengthen their cultural cooperation, leading to the launch of the exhibition “The Majlis – Cultures in Dialogue”, a project of the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum. , at the Alhambra in Granada, after being displayed in Madrid.
âIn education, learning the Spanish language is on the rise in Qatar. The Spanish language accounts for 8% of Arabic words in the history of Al-Andalus. It is the second most spoken language in the world as a mother tongue, the official language of 21 countries.
“It is the second most used language in international communication and the second most used language in social media, on Facebook and Twitter,” noted Alfaro.
She added that the International Spanish School in Doha – SEK, University of Qatar and Hamad Bin Khalifa University, offers a wide range of courses for adults and children, while many private schools in Doha also offer courses in Spanish in their program.
Alfaro stressed that the two countries also share a passion for sport, especially football, by signing a memorandum of understanding on youth and sports which aims to further strengthen their collaboration in this area this year.
On hosting the first carbon-neutral FIFA World Cup next year, she expressed confidence that the tournament “will be a great success not only for the country but for the region”.
âSpain contributes to improving the sports culture in Qatar in several ways: through Aspire Academy and Aspetar, where highly qualified Spanish professionals work, with the best Spanish players in the Qatari teams.
âMany Spanish companies have also contributed to the development of infrastructure projects designed to serve the World Cup, such as the metro, airport, roads, etc. Two of the eight stadiums for the Qatar 2022 World Cup were designed by the Spanish architectural firm. Fenwick Iribarren Architects: Education City Stadium and Ras Abu Aboud Stadium, âsaid Alfaro.
In the commercial and economic sector, she said that the bilateral relations of the two countries are strengthened by economic cooperation in various fields such as construction, architecture, food and beverage, facility management, construction services. consulting, the health sector, fashion retail, energy and water sector, sport, information and technology, among others.
âThe performance of Spanish companies in Qatar is strong and sustainable with around 200 companies wishing to stay in Qatar and become reliable partners for local businesses,â Alfaro added.
Bilateral trade between Qatar and Spain stood at around 1.3 billion euros in 2019 after years of steady growth and in 2020 it fell by around 43% due to the Covid pandemic- 19, according to Alfaro. She expressed optimism that her traditional upward trend will continue once the economic recovery emerges.
âSpain is a country that depends on foreign energy supply and Qatar is one of our main gas suppliers. In contrast, Spanish exports to Qatar are well diversified; the main items of our exports are machinery, mechanical appliances, clothing, electrical and electronic appliances, as well as equipment and furniture, âshe said.
In the area of ââdirect investment, the envoy said that Qatar’s capital investment stock has grown steadily in recent years and the Qatar Investment Authority has made significant investments in Spain.
âBy way of illustration, QIA holds stakes as relevant as that of Iberdrola, with an 8.6% share of its capital. We can also find stakes in Colonial, Marina Port in Tarragona, W Hotel in Barcelona, ââIntercontinental Hotel in Madrid or even a small part of Banco Santander in Brazil, among others.
âSpain is an attractive destination for investments because it is the natural gateway to Europe, the Mediterranean and Latin America. Spain is the first European investor in Latin America and the second in the world after the United States. These links with the Latin world offer Qatar a trusted partner to open the door to new investments in the markets.
“Our companies in the field of telecommunications, financial and insurance sectors, energy, tourism or infrastructure are well known, which makes our companies attractive for cooperation in the world,” Alfaro said.
She noted that the Spanish Secretary of State for Commerce awarded his businessmen in Doha the official title of Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Qatar in February 2019 as official recognition for the important work that Spanish companies do. perform in the country.
In tourism, she noted that Spain remains the second destination for international visitors, seeking to recover and increase pre-pandemic figures.
Alfaro cited strong enthusiasm from Qatari tourists to return to Spain, saying many of them have traveled to his country in the first two months since the borders reopened in July.
âSpain will once again become an attractive destination for natural parks and beautiful beaches. Our country is the third in terms of natural areas declared biosphere reserves and it shelters the coast with most of the Blue Flag beaches of the whole northern hemisphere. As mentioned earlier, the Arab heritage of cities such as Seville, Granada or Cordoba makes it a favorite place to visit, âshe said.
“I am confident that our two countries will continue to work closely together to further develop our bilateral relations to an even higher level, under the leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani,” she said. underline.