Posted on August 02, 2018

Three decades down the lane after establishment of diplomatic relations between Qatar and Russia on August 2, 1988, the ties between two brotherly countries have touched new heights spanning multiple dimensions including economy, security, culture among others.

Today, Qatar and Russia are celebrating 30th anniversary of their diplomatic relations with a bright record of friendly ties set in the last three decades and aims of further expansions in the days and years to come. This year both countries are also marking year 2018 as ‘Qatar-Russia 2018 Year of Culture’ which is being organised in partnership with leading institutions in Qatar and Russia. Officially Qatar Russia 2018 Year of Culture was launched in February 2018.

Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani visited the Russian Federation in March and July this year. During his two-day visit to Russia from March 25 to 26, H H the Amir signed a number of cooperation agreements while he received FIFA World Cup host mantle from President Valdimir Putin on July 15, 2018, the day of 2018 Russia World Cup final. Earlier, H H the Amir had visited Russia in January 2016. The Russian Federation during the blockade of Qatar supported Qatar’s principled stance of resolving the crisis through negotiations. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs H E Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani paid two visits to Russia in 2017 during which he met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, while the Russian Foreign Minister visited Doha in August 2017.

Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu also visited Doha in October 2017 and met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs H E Dr. Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah. A technical military cooperation agreement, a memorandum of understanding related to air defense and a legal contract on the general conditions of military supplies were signed during the meeting. The two defence ministers also met in Moscow in August 2017 on the sidelines of a military exhibition, and discussed bilateral relations in the field of defense and capacity development in all areas, in particular the field of air defense.

Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin witnessed on March 26, 2018 the signing of cooperation agreement in the field of science and education between Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) and Rosneft, which aims to open a research centre for Rosneft at the Qatar Science and Technology Park. H H the Emir and Russian President also discussed ways to strengthen the bilateral cooperation in several fields, including defence, energy, economy, investment, trade exchange and scientific research. Both leaders also discussed means to boost cooperation in the organization of the World Cup and the exchange of expertise, especially as Russia will host it in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.

Stressing that communication between the two countries is continuing permanently, President Putin said, “Relations between Qatar and Russia have completed their 30th year by 2018. The volume of trade and investment exchange is increasing, especially last year, but it remains without the aspiration of the two countries, which look forward to its development.” In the same meeting, H H the Emir pointed out the importance of 2018 for Qatar and Russia as their common cultural year, praising the great cooperation between the two countries in the field of culture.

During the visit, H H the Amir and the Russian President discussed the results of the work of the Qatari-Russian joint committee for trade, economic and technical cooperation and the prospects of enhancing them, as well as ways to develop military cooperation between the two countries. Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 15, 2018 handed over the World Cup host mantle to H H the Amir for 2022 edition of the tournament. “Russia is handing over the relay baton for hosting the FIFA World Cup to Qatar. I am sure that our friends from Qatar will be able to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup on the same high level. We are, of course, ready to share the experience we acquired in holding the World Cup this year, along with our friends,” President Putin said at the event.

After HH the Amir’s visit to Russia in March this year, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the Russian Federation Fahad bin Mohammed Al Attiyah described the visit of HH the Amir to Moscow as very successful, pointing that it has contributed to developing bilateral relations in the fields of economy, defense and investments. The Ambassador said in a TV interview that the Qatari-Russian relations are very good and are constantly evolving. “Since the first visit of HH the Amir to Moscow in January 2016, we have achieved very great results and we have more promising prospects,” he said. 

“There are certain investment prospects, and we have made great efforts to strengthen trade relations between the two countries,” he said adding “We are coordinating our efforts closely regarding the energy market”. Qatar Tourism Authority also opened its 10th Satellite Office in Moscow in April this year to attract tourists from Russia while the number of Russian tourists visiting Qatar has been increasing since the decision to exempt Russian citizens from the entry visa. In February, the Qatar-Russia 2018 Year of Culture was launched with award-winning Igor Moiseyev Ballet’s dazzling performance in Doha.

The Qatar-Russia 2018 Year of Culture is being organised in partnership with leading institutions in Qatar and Russia, including the Embassy of Qatar in Russia, Embassy of the Russian Federation in Qatar, the Ministry of Culture and Sports in Qatar, as well as the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. The year is set to include a variety of events and activities that will promote Qatar’s art and heritage in Russia, while at the same time introducing local audiences to Russia’s vast cultural heritage. The Qatar Russia 2018 Year of Culture is part of the landmark ‘Years of Culture’ initiative launched by QM in 2012 to deepen understanding between nations and their people through mutual exchanges of arts, culture, heritage and sport.

Declaring Qatar-Russia 2018 Year of Culture at its official launch in February, H E Salah bin Ghanem Al Ali, Minister of Culture and Sports, stressed the cultural year aims “to express the depth of relations between the two countries and to affirm the importance of culture in strengthening and rapprochement between peoples.” For his part, Vladimir Medinsky, Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation, said: “We are looking forward to this Year’s cultural exchange programme creating an atmosphere of understanding and trust between our nations that helps strengthen opportunities for tourism and economic exchange. Activities planned for this year will help both sides get to know each other better and invigorate economic relations.”

Apart from cooperation in many fields, Qatar and Russia also have joint energy and gas relations, as the two countries are members in the Gas Forum, and there are positive relations in the investment field between the Qatar Fund and the Russian Investment Fund. The two countries also cooperate in the field of sports through the football federations in the two countries, especially as they will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. They also exchange experiences in the field of sport event security, athletes training and sports medicine.

During Russia 2018, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) sent an official delegation of more than 180 people to learn from the final FIFA World Cup before Qatar hosts the tournament in 2022. The delegation included 120 people from the SC, the organisation responsible for delivering the infrastructure required for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, along with employees from numerous stakeholders, including the Ministry of Interior, Public Works Authority (Ashghal), Hamad Medical Corporation, Kahramaa, Qatar Football Association (QFA), Qatar Rail, QNB Stars League, Qatar Tourism Authority and others.

Delegates took part in observation, shadowing and secondment programmes during the tournament. A number of delegates worked closely with the Russia 2018 Local Organizing Committee, while others shadowed their counterparts in FIFA.

source: The Peninsula