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Old 14-12-2008, 08:35 AM
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Default Crucial meeting set to bolster Saudi-Qatari ties

Crucial meeting set to bolster Saudi-Qatari ties
Arab News

RIYADH: The first meeting of the Saudi-Qatari Joint Council will be held in Riyadh on Tuesday. The meeting will be co-chaired by Interior Minister Prince Naif and Qatari Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

The recently constituted council aims to increase the political coordination and cooperation in all issues of mutual concern for the two countries. It would promote cooperation in areas of energy, industry, telecommunication, transportation, civil aviation, exchange of technical know-how, environment and agriculture.

The council’s objectives also include collaboration in military matters and joint maneuvers. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, like other Gulf countries, share the same security concerns and face the same limited options that should lead to the adoption of close strategic decisions.

The two countries agreed in July to set up a joint council under the co-chairmanship of Crown Prince Sultan and the Qatari crown prince. The council includes Prince Naif as vice chairman, Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, State Minister Musaed Al-Aiban, Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Culture and Information Minister Iyad Madani, Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Zainal Alireza from the Saudi side, and Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabar Al-Thani from the Qatari side.

The council’s annual meeting will be held alternately in each country.

The Saudi and Qatari people look forward to serious action to strengthen economic integration between the two countries, and cooperation and coordination in various fields, including fighting terror.

Underscoring the deep-rooted relations with Qatar, Crown Prince Sultan said on the eve of a visit to Qatar in March that “Saudi-Qatari relations are governed by blood ties and a common destiny. They are not the product of a day, nor the result of emerging circumstances, but a true expression of deep-rooted ties that have existed for decades.”

Prince Sultan also said Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani were doing their best to strengthen cooperation between the two countries.

He added that King Abdullah’s visit to Qatar last year to attend a Gulf Cooperation Council summit reflected the strong relations that the two countries enjoyed.

Saudi Arabia is Qatar’s largest trading partner with the latter’s imports from the Kingdom steadily rising over the years.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar signed a landmark border agreement in July.


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