Strengthening links with Qatar

Published on Monday, 20 May 2013 10:04
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

Scotland's External Affairs Minister will promote Scottish exports and expertise in the Middle East on his first overseas visit outside of Europe since taking office.

Humza Yousaf's three-day visit to Qatar – which began on Sunday May 19, 2013 – is aimed at further strengthening Scotland's economic, diplomatic and cultural links with the rapidly expanding region.

Mr Yousaf was invited by the Qatari Government to speak at this year's Doha Forum, the world's foremost arena for discussions on democracy, development and free trade in the Middle East.

Mr Yousaf said:

"Scotland and Qatar already enjoy a warm and growing friendship and this has been reinforced by my invitation from the Qatari Government to speak at the prestigious Doha Forum. My visit to Qatar is the latest in a series of Scottish Government visits to the Gulf region as we seek to deepen the already excellent relationships we have with Qatar, other Arab countries and the Muslim world.

"I am keen to continue strengthening Scotland's relations with Qatar, to the mutual benefit of both our countries. Over the past decade, Scottish companies have exported £470 million worth of goods and services to Qatar and we are seeking to be even more ambitious.

"Scotland and Qatar are both oil and gas producing countries, and we have a great deal in common regarding the development of our energy sectors. But our friendship is based on so much more than economics: we have bonds across a range of sectors, in particular academia and culture.

"For example, Scotland has a strong track record in sport and festivals management, with our annual Edinburgh festivals attracting over four million visits annually and sustaining more than 5,000 jobs. Next year, Scotland will host two major international sporting events when we welcome the world to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and host the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

"As Qatar's responsibility approaches for hosting the Football World Cup in 2022, we are keen to share our experience in these areas, gained over many years of delivering successful high profile events.

"It is vital that Scotland's voice is heard in the international arena.  As a good, responsible global citizen we will always extend the hand of friendship to learn and share from nations across the world.  I am very much looking forward to taking the Qatar-Scotland relationship a stage further."

Source: Scottish Government

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