DOHA: Qatar yesterday reaffirmed its neutral stance on developments in the region and said it always stood for justice, equality, brotherly relations with other countries and peace.
“We have always been playing the role of a mediator between countries with differences, provided they have sought our mediation,” said The Emir, H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. “We are all for peace.”
Speaking at a dinner banquet hosted by French President Francois Hollande last evening, the Emir described France as a trusted friend and said the two countries enjoyed warm relations.
There is very close cooperation between the two sides in almost every field, be it economic, cultural, social or educational.
The Emir said Qatari-French relations were having a positive impact, especially in the realm of culture and education.
He also talked of closer cooperation between Qatari and French firms. He said Qatar believed in and worked for peace and respected freedom of speech, and was opposed to intolerance and violence. This is Qatar’s basic stand, he said, adding that some people didn’t appreciate this.
The Emir is on an official visit to France, his first to Europe as the Emir. He thanked Hollande and his country for according a warm welcome to him and members of his entourage.
Hollande, on his part, extended a hearty welcome to the Emir and his entourage in his speech and said he lauded the Emir’s views on regional and international issues.
A consortium including French industrial groups Vinci and Alstom signed a €2bn contract with Qatar Railways to build a tram system for the city of Lusail.
“Our friendship with Qatar will continue to flourish in an environment of trust and openness,” said Hollande. He also lauded the Emir’s commitment to global and regional security and peace, stressing the importance of security in the Middle East, reports Qatar News Agency (QNA).
The Emir and Hollande reviewed relations between both countries and means of taking them to wider horizons to serve mutual interests and meet ambitions of both countries and their peoples. They also discussed latest regional and international developments.
The Emir and Hollande witnessed the signing of an economic cooperation agreement on enhancing small and medium enterprises, a cultural cooperation agreement, a memorandum of understanding between the Qatari Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Institute and France’s National School of Administration, a contract for the construction and supply of Lusail’s light rail system, and a contract on the management of engineering services project for the metro system. An official reception was held for the Emir at Military School.