Doha – Information Office – 20 December
HE Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lulwa Al Khater, highlighted the importance of the tour of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to six West African countries: "The Republic of Senegal, the Republic of Guinea Conakry,The Republic of Mali, the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire, the Republic of Burkina Faso and the Republic of Ghana, ", adding that it is the first visit of its kind to West Africa.
Al Khater said in a press conference that the tour of HH the Emir comes as a continuation of the continental tours initiated by His Highness during 2017, including Asian countries, followed by a tour to countries in East and South Africa, pointing out that the delegation accompanying His Highness comprises HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, and a number of Their Excellences the Ministers, as well as a delegation from Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) which will carry out development projects in the fields of education, health and infrastructure in the six African countries.
Her Excellency outlined a number of projects and agreements that will culminate the tour, including support worth USD 13.8 million for the funding a cancer hospital in Burkina Faso and a project for educating 596,000 children in the Republic of Mali with an estimated contribution of USD 40 million within the 'Educate a Child' initiatives.
HE Al Khater said that the State of Qatar has funded previous projects and provided material support to these countries through QFFD, such as projects in the Republic of Mali totaling QR 129 million. Qatar has also implemented projects valued at USD 42 million in Ghana, and aides to Cote d'Ivoire estimated at more than USD 6 million, to Burkina Faso worth USD 814 thousand and USD 200 thousand to Senegal, as well as projects under study in Guinea.
As for the importance of HH the Emir's tour to West African countries, the Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that this tour comes to strengthen Qatar's relations with West Africa as an economically promising region despite security challenges.
Al-Khater stressed that the State of Qatar works to support these countries through a comprehensive development definition of security that includes educational and health dimensions and efforts to empower young people to save them from being recruited by extremist groups. This vision has been manifested through several projects to support African countries, like Silatech and QFFD projects, in addition to providing thousands of jobs for young people, as in the experience of the Qatari-Tunisian Friendship Fund.
On the subject of Jerusalem, HE Al Khater, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the State of Qatar will spare no effort in supporting the Palestinian cause diplomatically and politically, adding that coordination is ongoing between the Qatari leadership and the Palestinian Authority.
Regarding the Saudi decision to close Salwa border with the State of Qatar, Al Khater said that there is a real problem with brothers in understanding the historical responsibility at this critical moment in the history of the region adding that closing the border is a decision that will be studied, and this happened before; and we expect them to look at the situation of families.
As for the position of the State of Qatar on the Houthis launching a missile on Riyadh, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that this is the second missile within a month to be launched, and at the first time Qatar announced its condemnation and refused targeting civilians, and this position is clear and unambiguous, adding that "we renew our rejection of attacking civilians."
She went on saying that the issue must be studied in its broader context. There has been a war in Yemen for almost three years. It is clear that the escalation is continuing. There is a need for a specific formula to reduce the tension and deliver assistance to those who need it, this should be done within the framework of Security Council resolutions and the restoration of legitimacy in Yemen. "But how can this be achieved?" she asked.
On the Syrian issue, HE Al Khater reiterated that the position of the State of Qatar was based on principles that have not changed, related to supporting the right of the Syrian people to self-determination. "The issue began with targeting the civilians, and then things evolved into displacement, systematic killing and tragedy," HE said.
Al Khater noted that Qatar's vision of the solution emphasizes the tracks of Geneva 1 and Geneva 2. Her Excellency expressed hope for ending the Syrian bloodshed, the creation of transitional justice and conditions that will allow the Syrian people to speak transparently and independently.