HE Prime Minister Hails Qatari-Lebanese Ties

 Doha, October 15 (QNA) – HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani said that talks between HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati focused on bilateral relations.
  Speaking at a joint press conference with Mikati, HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim described the relations between Qatar and Lebanon as “historic and long-standing”, adding that the talks during the meeting between HH the Emir and Mikati were very frank . It was clear that the meeting showed full support of Lebanon, he said.
 Qatar’s invitation for Mikati to visit the country is to discuss ways of boosting bilateral relations, HE the Prime Minister stressed.
  The Lebanese Premier, meanwhile,  lauded Qatar’s support for his country, revealing that HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister informed him that HH the Emir had ratified this morning six agreements between Qatar and Lebanon, which were put on hold for a period of time. He also pointed out that the Qatari-Lebanese Supreme Committee will meet in Doha at the beginning of next year.
 Among other issues tackled during HH the Emir and Lebanese Premier meeting were joint investments and Qatari investments in Lebanon, HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister said, adding that Qatar was ready to invest in any projects that are economically feasible in Lebanon.  
 The meeting, he said, discussed issues related to Qatari nationals in Lebanon and Qatari citizens visit to
that country. Those issues were discussed only because of the current situation and due to certain conditions there, he said, while highlighting the progress that has been made in Lebanon on this important security file.  
 HE the Prime Minister stressed that these issues are still under discussion between the two countries, hoping it will be completed as soon as possible.
 “We are fully aware of the circumstances surrounding the actions that had taken place and are sure that the Lebanese government and people reject such acts, and at the same time we understand the current situation and the circumstances our brothers in Lebanon are undergoing,” he said, while stressing that Lebanon needs support in these circumstances. “Our relations with Lebanon continued uninterrupted and we are open and ready for any suggestions to help in solving economic or political problems in Lebanon.”
HE the Premier stressed that Qatar has ethical commitment towards Lebanon, before and after the Doha Agreement, and that Qatar has always been keen on Lebanon’s security and stability.
 He affirmed that the talks with the Lebanese Premier Najib Mikati focused on developing the existing relations, and that the dialogue was strong and clear during the meeting between HH the Emir and the Lebanese Prime Minister, adding that it was obvious during the meeting that Qatar, fully, supports Lebanon.
 About the Qatari Initiative, proposed by HH the Emir, on sending Arab troops to stop the bloodshed in Syria, HE the Prime Minister said that the idea is being seriously negotiated, but it needs a UN resolution from the Security Council, explaining that the initiative was welcomed by many Arab countries, especially that the troops’ mission will not be supporting one party to win a battle, but rather stopping the bloodshed in Syria, adding that HH the Emir said that it will resemble the Arab Deterrent Forces that were once in Lebanon.
 Regarding the efforts of the UN Arab League Joint Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister said “We have full confidence in his abilities, but do not trust that the other party honestly wants to resolve the issue peacefully” adding that the results of Brahimi’s tour, as well as his talks with the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria may carry some new indicators. “Talks and discussions are good, but practical acts are something different”, he said.
     HE the Premier  said that it is known that the Syrian regime has been trying to gain time, either with former envoy Kofi Annan or with the Arab League. He said that the continuity of the bloodshed does not serve Syria domestically, regionally or internationally therefore the Syrian Authorities need to take a courageous decision on how to stop the bleeding and to attend to the desires of the Syrian people.

Asked about a reportedly imminent deal between Qatar and Glencore International PLC, he said he had no comment as the issue was not discussed. “We are working to do something between the two companies, and there are a lot of details and our team is working on them. I cannot say more than that. “
   On the situation in Syria and the presence of radical groups there, HE Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim said Qatar was supplying neither radical nor non-radical groups with weapons.
   ” We are only extending humanitarian assistance to all Syrians in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan or in Syria by sending medicines and humanitarian aid. And as the problem persists for a longer period we should expect the emergence  of more radical groups. Hence  we see a need to resolve this problem as soon as possible, and urge Bashar Al Assad and all others to find a way out of the crisis through unity among all Syrians”.
   He explained that radical groups flourish in areas where conflicts persist, recalling that it was the Syrian people, not the radical groups who started the uprising.
     He emphaiszed that the State of Qatar is not supporting any of the radical goups, and is not interfering in Syria s internal affairs.
   Qatar s role is transparent, it is within the Arab League and its special committee on Syria,he noted.
    “We know that  all such stories emanate from Damascus and realize why. What is more important to us is how to stop the bloodshed,   HE Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim explained.

 Explaining that the concerns raised in France about Qatari investments were unwarranted, he said Qatar has neither great political ambitions, nor it is a super power that seeks, through investments in France to play a political role.
“Qatar is looking for investments and is coordinating  (all activities) with the French government and nothing was being done against the law, as we respect the laws of France and  any other countries”, he said, noting that it has been agreed that Qatari investments in France are to be carried out through a joint fund between Qatar and the French government. The fund is being discussed by both sides, he said.
   Asked about the mission which  Lakhdar Brahimi wants to send to Syria and whether it would conform to the proposals of HH the Emir for sending Arab troops to stop the bloodshed in Syria, he said “”in my opinion any mission that hasn”t  enough weapons to protect itself  and to carry out the required job will not be able to serve the purpose. Hence, any mission, Arab or international,  must be sufficient in number and adequately equipped to  stop the violence. HH the Emir meant to stop the killing machine in Syria as  soon as possible,   he said.
  Speaking at the news conference, the Lebanese Prime Minister Mikati,said he discussed with His Highness the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and with HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister all issues of concern to the region.
   The discussions also focused on bilateral relations, he said , expressing that he felt very satisfied with the discussions.

Mikati said that his talks in Doha dealt with exploring opportunities for Qatari investments in Lebanon, noting that he felt a Qatari desire for investment in his country.
   Other issues discussed was the situation in Syria, Mikati said.
   He said he explained to HH the Emir and HH the Prime Minister the Lebanese government s policy of keeping distant. However, keeping a distance politically and in security affairs doesn t mean withholding humanitarian assistance, he said, noting that Lebanon was welcoming and caring for  Syrian war refugees on its territory.
    Mikati said the talks touched on  the requirements of the current situation, i.e. the assistance needed for the relief of the refugees. “I felt that the Qatari government was prepared to help in those efforts,   he said.
   He praised Qatar s hospitality to Lebanese citizens on its territory and said that a joint Qatari-Lebanese higher committee will meet in Doha early next year.(qna)

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