The head of the French-Qatar businessmen Club, Claude de Kimulria, has said that the state visit of HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani to Paris comes at the right time to enhance the very special relationship between Qatar and France that began when the two countries established diplomatic relations in the early seventies.
De Kimulria said in an interview to QNA that the relations in the field of oil and trade between Qatar and France have not encountered any problems, thanks to the wise and open policy of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. He said the Emir is willing to use the special political relations to enhance the economic ties between the two countries.
Qatar is able to play a key role in the Middle East, and it could play a more important role in the region, said De Kimulria. He added: “I want to pay tribute to the independent economic policy of Qatar”.
Meanwhile, the French foreign ministry has described the Emir’s visit as historic.
Ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier said the visit gains significance from the fact that distinctive ties bind the two countries. Besides, both sides have close co-operation on a number of regional issues and the leaders of the two countries maintain a strong friendship.
Chevallier recalled that the Emir was the first Arab leader to pay an official visit to France in May 2007 immediately after the election of President Nicolas Sarkozy. He was also a guest of honour at the 14 July 2007 military ceremony and visited Paris during the launching of an alliance for the Mediterranean.
Chivallier lauded the role of the Qatari embassy in Paris, especially the efforts of the Ambassador Mohamed Jaham al-Kuwari to step up Qatar’s relations with France both on the bilateral level as well as on the level of regional and international issues of mutual concern.
Meanwhile, French Minister of State for Urban Affairs Fadela Amara described the visit of the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani to Paris as “important and distinct”.
The minister expressed her pleasure at the Emir’s visit as an Arab leader in Paris at a time when French relations are growing more distinct with the Arab countries with President Nicolas Sarkozy seeking to establish strong relations with the Arab world.
The French minister said that the bilateral relations between Doha and Paris are a model for the coexistence of civilizations, pointing out at the same time that the Islamic world has a place among the other civilizations and “we see this in the efforts of HH the Emir and HH Sheikha Mozah Nasser al-Misnad.”
The minister also noted the role played by women in the Qatari society and their assumption of top positions.
The minister found that women’s development and practice of public activities and their ministerial and other positions make Qatar, “a respectable Model”.
The minister noted in this regard her visit to Doha last May to attend a conference on democracy and she was surprised by the role of women in the society. She said “women in Qatar were able to provide the image of Arab women different from what is known in the West.”
The minister also had the privilege to meet Sheikha Mozah and exchange views on many issues of common concern, pointing out that she heard a lot about the efforts of Sheikha Mozah, her special role and her future vision.
Amara said that Sheikha Mozah is a model Arab woman who is able to establish reconciliation between modernity and originality.
The Chairman of the French- Gulf friendship parliamentary group Philippine Marini said that the Emir’s visit reflects the continuous developments of the Qatari-French relations in various fields.
Marini said that the visit is a further phase of the positive co-operation between Qatar and France, which could provide an opportunity for the French public opinion to learn more about Qatar, which is characterised by two main factors. First it’s effective diplomacy which plays an active role in peace initiatives and searching for solutions to conflicts and differences. The second is an important factor to be highlighted which is its open media policy. - QNA
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