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The Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Heir Apparent H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani with the Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of Saudi Arabia Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Doha yesterday.
DOHA: The fourth session of the Qatari-Saudi Joint Coordination Council here yesterday discussed a series of bilateral issues, including the possibility of exempting Qatar from a ban imposed by Saudi Arabia on export of some products.
The proposal assumes significance in the context of a supply shortfall in the local market following the Saudi ban on export of several agricultural and poultry products.
The Heir Apparent H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani led the Qatari side in the Council while Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence led the Saudi team. “The two sides discussed the desire of Qatar to exempt it from Saudi Arabia’s decision to halt exports of certain commodities produced by Saudi Arabia as well as a proposal for working out a mechanism for coordination between the two countries on any future decisions in this regard,” said a joint statement issued after the meeting.
The two sides also agreed to form a technical team to study the issue and propose the appropriate solutions.
Both parties expressed their satisfaction at the level of military cooperation between the two countries. They confirmed that they will continue to cooperate in holding workshops and exchanging information and expertise. Cooperation is also supported by the agreements the GCC member states signed in Bahrain in December 20, 2000.
In the field of security, the statement said, the two countries were looking forward to strengthening ties in that field particularly counter-terrorism and drug-trafficking. They welcomed signing agreements to regulate border authorities in combating crimes in both countries.
The two sides reviewed aspects of financial, economic and investment cooperation between the two countries, and the steps taken to further enhance and strengthen this cooperation.
Both sides stressed the importance of cooperation in the field of the general budget and the exchange of expertise and qualifying capacities in the preparation of public budgets in accordance with the latest regulations and standards effective in this regard.
The meeting called on the concerned authorities in the two countries to quickly complete the examination of the draft memorandum of understanding extended by the Qatari side, and which is related to the establishment of a mechanism for the execution of the joint investments between the two countries, and forwarding whatever results to the Joint Preparatory Committee of the Coordination Council.
Qatar National Bank (QNB), Masraf of Al Rayan and Barwa Bank expressed their willingness to open their branches in Saudi Arabia as per the regulations applicable in this regard.
The meeting also discussed ways to enhancing trade and investment relations between the two countries and increase exports between them through encouraging the chambers of commerce and the private sector in the two countries and the exchange of visits to achieve their common interests.
The two sides underlined the importance of holding a coordinating meeting to the professionals concerned with the World Trade Organization (WTO) affairs in both countries to bring closer together views on the WTO’s topics with special emphasis on trade facilitation.
They will encourage the participation in the establishment of exhibitions and commercial markets in both countries with a view to introducing commodities and manufactured products in each of them and acting to reactivate the participation and involvement of all sectors of the two countries.
The two sides expressed satisfaction at the level of cooperation existing between the two countries in the field of culture and media, and emphasized the importance of continuing the follow-up and activation of all aspects of cooperation contained in the MoU for cultural and media cooperation.
The Qatari side showcased its desire to get a plot of land allocated to be the permanent headquarters for the pavilion of Qatar in the heritage village in the National Festival for Heritage and Arts (Janadriya), and the Saudi side promised to give this request the necessary attention and following it up.
The Qatari side wished to obtain a radio frequency in Saudi Arabia to rebroadcast the Voice of the Gulf to the kingdom and the Saudi side promised to refer the matter to the competent authority in the Kingdom to make thereon as it deems appropriate.
The two sides welcomed cooperation in that field via the following topics; Holding research projects that serve the two countries’ developmental plans; exchanging of visits of academics in order to develop and upgrade their scientific and practical skills at the scientific faculties;Encouraging studies and researches between the universities based in the two countries and the exchange of academic textbooks and manuscripts.
Other decisions included developing new systems to discover the talented and creative students at the universities in the two countries and preparing plans for exchange programs and developing new educational syllabi.