UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom Dominic Raab is in Qatar for talks about Afghanistan and the Taliban. He met with His Highness The Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Doha.
H.H. the Amir and H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani held separate meetings with the UK Secretay of State on 2 September 2021 at the Amiri Diwan with his accompanying delegation, on the occasion of his visit to the country. During the two meetings, the close bilateral relations between the two countries and prospects for strengthening and developing them were reviewed, in addition to discussing regional and international developments, especially the situation in Afghanistan. In this regard, Dominic Raab expressed the UK's thanks to H.H. the Amir for the effective contribution of the State of Qatar to the evacuation of civilians and for its unremitting efforts in the peace process in Afghanistan.
UK Secretary and State and H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani also paid a visit to the temporary facilities housing Afghan citizens hosted by the State of Qatar temporarily until they arrive at their final destinations.The visit included getting to know the operations team at the facilities, the procedures and services provided to Afghan citizens, and checking the service, education, sports, recreational, and health facilities in addition to meeting some of the families and children.
H.E. Assistant Foreign Minister and Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lolwah bint Rashid Al Khater, along with the ministry's evacuation team, provided an overview of the procedures and the work taking place at the temporary facilities, and shed light on aspects of the comprehensive care provided to Afghan citizens and their families as well as students, education and journalism cadres who were evacuated.
In a joint conference with UK Secretary of State, H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told reporters that Qatar was in talks with the Taliban and working with Turkey for potential technical support to restart operations at the Kabul airport:
"We are engaging with them (Taliban), engaging also with Turkey if they can provide any technical assistance on that front. Hopefully in the next few days there will be some good news.
"There is no clear indication when (the airport) is going to be fully operational yet...We remain hopeful that we will be able to operate it as soon as possible."
UK Secretary of State said:
"Our commitment on the part of the United Kingdom to Afghanistan remains. We need to adjust to the new reality.
"Our immediate priority is to secure the safe passage of those remaining British nationals, and also the Afghans who worked for the United Kingdom, and others who may be at the most risk," he said, adding that he would be talking to regional leaders about securing safe passage through third countries."
The UK Secretary of State later shared the following tweet:
Qatar’s regional influence makes it a key player on Afghanistan. I met Amir @TamimBinHamad and FM @MBA_AlThani_ of Qatar to discuss how to stop Afghanistan becoming a terrorist haven, respond to the humanitarian plight & hold the Taliban to the commitments they have made. pic.twitter.com/4UPmGUItop— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) September 2, 2021
Qatar continues its efforts in transporting Afghan refugees to their final destinations through Doha, in addition to providing housing and care for them, in line with its ongoing commitment to respond to humanitarian crises at the international arena.
Source: Dominic Raab; QNA, Qatar Tribune
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