First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic met today in Belgrade with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, who is on an official visit to Serbia.
The two Ministers signed the Memorandum between the two Ministries on the establishment of political consultations on issues of common interest.
“Serbia has only embarked upon the establishment of sound foundations for genuine cooperation and development of its relations with Qatar”, said Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic. He underlined that the visit of the Qatari Minister was a historic one, because it was for the first time that a Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar visited Serbia.
Foreign Minister Dacic emphasized that Serbia was committed to cooperation with Qatar in all areas, from agriculture, IT sector, health care and health tourism, to energy and military industry.
Minister Dacic pointed out that a common interest was sought for bringing Qatari investors to Serbia; that conditions were created for setting up a joint committee, and that representatives of the Qatar Investment Fund were welcome to come to Serbia and familiarize themselves with its projects. The Serbian Foreign Minister stated that the assets of the Qatar Investment Fund amounted to $ 170 billion, and that Qatar had the world’s highest annual per capita income of $140,000.
He expressed expectation that significant steps would be taken in foreign trade between the two countries, which are currently as low as seven to eight million dollars.
“I have high hopes and grounds to believe that the scope and quality of our cooperation will be enhanced”, said Minister Dacic expressing his wish to see his Qatari colleague in Serbia again, as soon as possible.
Minister Dacic underlined that the visit of the President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic to Qatar, last November, was a success, and that the visit of the Emir of Qatar to Serbia, expected to be held before the end of the year, would further contribute to the development of cooperation between the two countries.
Minister Dacic also discussed with his Qatari counterpart the enhancement of the visa system, recalling that Serbia had abolished visas for Qatari nationals in 2015. He urged that the process of visa issuance to Serbian nationals be facilitated in such a way that visas be issued at the airport.
The Qatari Minister thanked his host for the friendly welcome, indicating that his visit was very important for strengthening cooperation between the two countries, and underlining that their relations had a vast potential as their development was at an initial stage.
He further said that Qatar was planning to send to Serbia delegations from various fields, including IT, agriculture and defense, in order to improve cooperation in all areas.
Al-Thani commended the Serbian Government and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic for their strong commitment to reforming the environment and attracting Qatari investments, thus offering an opportunity Qatar wishes to take.
“I look forward to the implementation of all that we have discussed, and we will surely seize the moment”, said Al-Thani, indicating that the Memorandum he signed today with the Serbian Foreign Minister constituted a platform for exchanging views also in international organizations, and a mechanism for monitoring bilateral projects.