Posted on February 11, 2020

Qatar and the UK are working together on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) concerning the World Cup 2022, which will provide a structure for the UK to support Qatar across all the areas, including security, defence and business cooperation, outgoing British Ambassador to Qatar HE Ajay Sharma said on Sunday.

Addressing a press conference, Sharma said the MoU will provide a framework for the UK’s public and private sectors to help Qatar in the delivery of a safe and successful World Cup. 

Stressing that the UK’s priorities are to support the World Cup 2022, Qatar National Vision 2030, and the regional stability, Sharma pointed out that the last four years have been extremely positive in terms of strengthening of ties between Qatar and the UK. The ambassador said: “The trade ties between Qatar and the UK are growing. Qatari investments into the UK (mostly London) total over £35billion. Besides, total trade in goods and services between the two countries in the year ending Q3, 2019, amounted to £6.7 billion.” Speaking of the defence relations, he said “a joint UK-Qatari squadron through the typhoon programme will take place where Qatari and British pilots will be flying and training together”.

The ambassador further pointed out that the cooperation between the two air forces and the agreement to purchase 24 typhoon jets by Qatar from the UK bear testimony to the strong defence ties between the two countries. He also emphasised that people to people contact have also grown between Qatar and the UK in the past few years, especially in the fields of education and tourism. “Last year, we registered almost 100,000 visits from Qatar to the UK. We have around 25,000 British nationals residing in Qatar”, he said.

The ambassador emphasised the 2030 National Vision as another important factor in the relationship between the two countries referring to an agreement signed by former Prime Minister HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al Thani with the UK’s Prime Minister in 2016. The ambassador said” “Post Brexit, the UK’s priority will be to improve trade relations across the world, including through free trade agreements – with the US for example. We also want to improve our trade relationship with Qatar further.” Speaking about his four year stint, the ambassador said: “It has been an exciting, stimulating and challenging experience.” He also praised the hospitality of Qatari people.

source: Qatar Tribune

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