InicioMundoOn the occasion of the inaugural Strategic Dialogue between the State of...

On the occasion of the inaugural Strategic Dialogue between the State of Qatar and the Kingdom of Spain

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Qatar and Spain: Partnering for Global Peace and Prosperity

The Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar, His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and His Excellency Jose Manuel Albares Bueno, Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of the Government of Spain, launched the first annual Qatar-Spain Strategic Dialogue in Madrid on 21 June 2024, to celebrate the deep and growing bilateral relationship.

The Qatar-Spain Strategic Dialogue is testament to the strategic partnership agreed upon during  His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s first State visit to Spain in May 2022 where Qatar and Spain expressed their determination to strengthen their strategic partnership. These aspirations were later formalised in the Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of the Qatar-Spain Strategic Dialogue signed during the visit of the Spanish Prime Minister, Mr. Pedro Sanchez Pérez-Castejón to Doha, on April 3rd 2024 to deepen cooperation in all fields.

Both Ministers reviewed areas of collaboration between the two countries and applauded 52 years of strong diplomatic relations. The Ministers agreed that the Qatar-Spain relationship has maintained a positive trajectory and committed to further strengthening the partnership. They approved progress in areas of ongoing and regular collaboration through official high level engagements including; regional security, defence and military cooperation, security, justice and the fight against terrorism, trade and investment, education, culture, and innovation.  

    

They highlighted the strength of the bilateral relationship and the opportunities to further deepen mutually-beneficial cooperation in tourism, energy, climate change, environmental issues, among other areas.

On the regional and global front, both Ministers emphasised the importance of respecting all dimensions of international law. They noted the significant statements of H.H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, and H.M. King Felipe VI of Spain, in support of peace in the Middle East, humanity, and conflict resolution across the globe. 

Minister Albares highly commended the State of Qatar’s efforts to achieve an immediate ceasefire through mediation, in addressing the dire ongoing humanitarian emergency, and its call to resume detainee and prisoner exchanges in the Gaza Strip.  

Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Al-Thani praised the Spanish government’s recent decision to formally recognise the State of Palestine and its continuing efforts to encourage other countries to advance in this direction, and to move forward in the implementation of the two-state solution. 

Regional and Global Cooperation

 

Both Ministers began by reaffirming their commitment to the Qatar-Spain strategic partnership, agreeing that such partnership is more critical than ever to confront an array of global challenges and in support of a strengthened multilateral system, particularly in contributing to forge a united Euro-Arab voice towards de-escalation in the Middle East.

 

Qatari and Spanish officials assessed bilateral cooperation on a number of regional and global issues including the ongoing war on Gaza, regional escalation in Lebanon, Iraq and Ukraine, the Maghreb, regional security, Latin America. They also discussed Qatar’s priorities as it holds the GCC Presidency and underscored the need to further elevate the EU-GCC Partnership through an enhanced cooperation framework.

The two sides emphasised the significance of principled partnership in tackling these complex political and diplomatic challenges, and to secure their strategic interests. 

The two Ministers reiterated their countries’ commitment to a just, fair and equitable peace, guaranteeing independent statehood for Palestinians and mutual security with Israel. Peace, they agreed, can now only be achieved through mediated negotiations between the two parties underpinned by global support, and the implementation of the two-state solution. 

    

The Ministers reinforced their call for an immediate, lasting and sustainable ceasefire in the Gaza Strip that allows for the unimpeded delivery of urgent humanitarian aid throughout the Gaza Strip and the liberation of hostages. Both Ministers also called on all parties to ensure the right measures to enforce the ICJ ruling on Rafah made on 24 May 2024. 

In this regard, Qatar welcomed Spain’s efforts to end the war on Gaza and to initiate a permanent and just peace process towards the implementation of the two state solution, including Spain’s proposal for an International Middle East Peace Conference with the parties. The State of Qatar and Spain hope this would intensify global efforts to support a two-state solution and a return to a negotiation process, emphasising that achieving comprehensive and just peace in the region is contingent upon the establishment of an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. 

         

 They emphasised the importance of prioritizing de-escalation efforts on achieving an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, which will lead to reducing tensions on other regional fronts. They outlined core regional security challenges and conflict resolution solutions as they relate to Israel and Palestine, adding that diplomacy is the only realistic route.   

   

The State of Qatar and the Kingdom of Spain welcomed the recent collaboration on Regional Security between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and European Union (EU) and the Joint Council and Ministerial Meetings, held earlier this year, and the fruitful progress in the strategic partnership between the GCC and the EU in view of the forthcoming EU-GCC Summit. Both leaders stressed the importance of continuing to strengthen relations and working together.

 

Spain noted progress on common issues of peace, stability and prosperity under Qatar’s current GCC presidency. A dynamic and positive discussion on bilateral cooperation between Spain and Qatar on Latin America was also held.

      

Qatar and Spain will continue their partnership on promoting global conflict resolution efforts. Both Ministers also re-emphasised the commitment of their countries to support the sovereignty of Ukraine, and      Spain welcomed Qatar’s “exemplary” mediation in Gaza, Ukraine, Venezuela, Chad, Rwanda, DR Congo, Afghanistan, as well as Iran.      

Trade and Investment Cooperation

The State of Qatar and the Kingdom of Spain share an important and growing economic, trade and investment cooperation, with a total trade of more than 1.4 billion euros in the past year, contributing to a notable surge in exports, supporting jobs, innovation, and economic development in both countries. 

Both sides reviewed progress in advancing the investments by Qatar to the Spanish economy announced in 2022, in particular through the QIA-COFIDES partnership. QIA-COFIDES are working closely together in sharing expertise and knowledge, and identifying opportunities to collaborate on investment opportunities, with priority areas including; technology-enabled sectors, renewable energy, clean transportation, and the circular economy – in support of Spain’s national priorities.

           

It was noted that among the leading global investors in Spain, Qatar continues to play a pivotal role. Qatar considers Spain as one of its most significant investment ecosystems in Europe with a successful track record in investing in Spanish Energy & Real Estate champions. With robust financial support, both countries are achieving a vital milestone and many more programs will follow in the years ahead, boosting the economies of both Qatar and Spain.

Both sides highlighted opportunities to increase sharing of best practices for advancing industry interests, subnational investments, and potential opportunities for businesses to expand their markets. The Qatari delegation outlined the opportunities intrinsic to the Qatar Third National Development Strategy 2024-2030 for economic, trade and investment cooperation.

Both delegations discussed opportunities for shared prosperity through investment in sectors aligned to mutual priorities, including clean technologies; life sciences; biotech; and agri-tech, many of which are being progressed under the Qatar-Spain Innovation Program (QASIP). The Spanish side has financial instruments to foster exports and investments in Qatar, particularly the “Fund for Foreign Investment» (FIEX), the “Fund for SME Foreign Investment Operations” (FONPYME), CESCE’s Export Credit Agency cover and the “Corporate Internationalisation Fund” (FIEM). Both parties are committed to explore ways to collaborate in the framework of Qatari investment in third countries, particularly in the African continent. 

Qatar and Spain explored ways of broadening their cooperation into the ICT sector, particularly in the areas of digital economy, digital transformation, research and innovation, Smart Cities, national digital policies and strategies, electronic services, cloud computing, AI, and supporting start-ups. 

Both sides reviewed on-going discussions on agreements and Letters of Intent (LoI), including in areas of circular economy, ICT domains and Investment promotion, and discussed the possibility of launching a joint Qatar-Spain business council. 

In such spirit, both delegations welcomed the organisation Business to Business contacts in order to promote innovation, trade, jobs and economic development both in Spain and Qatar, they emphasised the significant presence of Spanish businesses in Qatar, with more than 200 companies operating across diverse sectors such as Business Services, Industrial Equipment, Real Estate, and Tourism, underscoring      the strong economic connections between the two nations. Both sides also discussed the possibility of launching a joint business council which will serve as a mechanism to further enhance commercial, industrial, and investment cooperation between the business sectors in both countries.

          

Defence and Military Cooperation 

The importance of the defence partnership was reaffirmed. The two sides underscored their joint commitment to the values of peace, coexistence and respect amongst peoples. In addressing both regional and global threats, both sides discussed vital ongoing activities aimed at the strategic goal of de-escalation.

Both sides acknowledged and pledged to work together on common threats including freedom of navigation.

The two sides also recognized the value of further discussions on future partnership-building and      cooperation, and underlined the commitment of the State of Qatar and the Kingdom of Spain to continue cooperation in tackling shared global security challenges.      

Security and Justice Cooperation:

Spain and Qatar highlighted their formidable bilateral security and justice partnership, expressing a desire to build greater collaboration and capacity in areas of border security and law enforcement. 

                              

The two sides also underscored their joint commitment to pursue the fight against terrorism, including the financing of terrorism, which continues to be one of the biggest threats to international security and organized crime. 

They underline the importance of countering extremism in all forms, including combatting all forms of hate and racism.

In their discussions they underlined the commitment of the State of Qatar and the Kingdom of Spain to continue strengthen operative and judicial cooperation to tackle shared global security challenges. Both parties congratulated for the recent entry into force of the bilateral agreement on the transfer of sentenced persons with a liberty depriving penalty and committed to implement it.

Based on the successful cooperation in security matters during the FIFA 2022 World Cup held in Qatar, both countries aim to explore further areas of common concern and collaboration as established in the Agreement on Cooperation in Security Matters between the State of Qatar and the Kingdom of Spain signed in 2011, including the exchange of best practices and protocols in the field of public security and training.  The two countries called for a senior official meeting to establish the foundations to move forward in this field of cooperation. 

    

Education and Culture Cooperation:

Realising the joint ambition to promote cooperation on Education, vocational training and Culture, both sides welcomed discussions to elevate their partnership. They underscored the importance of people-to-people ties to promote diversity, inclusion, and institutional excellence. 

 

The two sides reviewed their ongoing cooperation in the fields of education and vocational training including higher education, joint research and training initiatives underscoring the importance of core principles of knowledge sharing between the countries of Qatar and Spain. They explored opportunities for future partnership between Qatar-based Universities and the Spanish Higher Education Sector on the foundation of common values, ethics and principles of academic freedom. The discussion highlighted a shared long-term vision for creating inclusive, world-class ecosystems of education, research and innovation.

     

Recognizing the value of promoting a plural and multilingual education, both delegations evaluated the work of the memorandum of understanding signed in 2022 in the field of education, with the aim of working to implement teacher mobility programs affiliated with the Spanish Ministry of Education, Vocational Training and Sports, and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in the State of Qatar, which enhances educational exchange between the two countries.

Progressing the Cultural Cooperation Agreement signed in 2021 both countries have contributed to important intersections as they relate to culture and heritage and their importance as conductors for shared values, common ground and inspiring futures. 

Both sides agreed to promote cultural exchanges between the two countries and recognize the need to address global challenges and the construction of a more just and sustainable world through culture as an indispensable tool.

In that spirit, Qatar Foundation and Albeniz Foundation signed an agreement which will lead to the establishment of a Research Chair of Arabic and Eastern Music at the Reina Sofía School of Music, In addition to organizing. various artistic, educational and cultural workshops.

The State of Qatar also announced the following:

The establishment of “HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Chair for Teaching Arabic Language and Andalusian Heritage” in the University of Granada.

Scholarships for teaching Arabic language in Qatar University during the academic year 2024-2025, Qatar University expressed its intentions to build on this partnership with Spanish University in years to come.

Both sides have also recognized the importance of working towards the organization of a Qatar-Spain Year of Culture.

They express interest in fostering cooperation in the fields of visual arts, performing arts, cinema, music, libraries, archives, museums and the management of the cultural heritage of the two countries, as well as contributing to the promotion of cultural and creative industries. 

Likewise, the Parties recognize the universality of culture and the essentially inherent nature of the rights related to cultural creation and participation.

Innovation Partnership:

Qatar and Spain held a session on Innovation, officials discussed additional areas of collaboration, including increasing professional and research-led academic exchanges, such as the ongoing implementation of the two MOUs on Research and Innovation signed in May 2022 between Qatar Research, Development and Innovation Council (QRDI) and the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (MCIN), as well as QRDI and Spain’s Centre for Technological Development and Innovation (CDTI)  to promote and support innovation as well as ecosystems and applied R&D between Qatari and Spanish companies.

 

Advances in joint action on research and innovation in renewable energy, environmental sustainability, AI, health sciences, sport and health care were outlined, as well as exploring initiatives to enhance cooperative efforts, such as joint visits, knowledge exchange, and increasing awareness of QRDI and CDTI programs for companies and research institutes in both countries. They agreed on holding a joint workshop in Qatar, focused on enhancing knowledge transfer.     

The State of Qatar and the Kingdom of Spain look forward to making progress in these areas and reviewing them during the second Strategic Dialogue to be held in Doha, 2025.

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