President Marcos, Qatar emir meet today to tackle bilateral ties

Pia Lee-Brago, Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
President Marcos, Qatar emir meet today to tackle bilateral ties
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr
Bongbong Marcos / Facebook Page

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani will meet today at Malacañang to talk about bilateral and regional issues.

“The two leaders are expected to exchange views on regional issues and to discuss Philippines-Qatar bilateral relations which now cover cooperation in the areas of labor, climate change, trade and investments, energy security, education, youth and sports, among others,” the Presidential Communications Office said in a statement.

The meeting forms part of the Qatari leader’s two-day state visit to the Philippines and is expected to serve as a platform to reaffirm the two nations’ mutual commitment to further elevate robust ties, the Philippine embassy in Doha said.

“Such a high-level visit is a strong indication of flourishing relations between our two countries. It also provides an excellent opportunity for the two sides to have a personal exchange of views on bilateral issues and foster greater engagement arising from a shared sense of responsibility as regional and global actors,” Philippine Ambassador to Qatar Lillibeth Pono said in a recent statement.

High on the agenda for the meeting are the conclusion of agreements and the discussion of measures intended to ramp up trade and investment, expand areas of cooperation across various fronts and combat climate change and human trafficking.

According to Pono, the Philippines and Qatar have concluded over 20 agreements covering a broad range of thematic areas, including investments, taxation, air services, labor, establishment of a political consultation mechanism, agriculture, economic, commercial and technical cooperation.

“We are hopeful that during the visit of the Amir, we are able to conclude more MOUs (memoranda of understanding) on other key areas of cooperation, particularly in the field of trade, climate change, consular matters, sports and youth,” the envoy said.

There are more than 270,000 Filipinos in Qatar, whose relationship with the Philippines was described by the embassy as anchored on trust, mutual confidence and shared values.

Pono said the Philippines views Qatar as a “trusted friend and a reliable partner.”

“As such, the Philippines will continue to collaborate with Qatar in reinforcing rule of law, equality, and mutual respect as the foundation for the kind of global action that overcomes differences among nations, promotes an inclusive and just society, and facilitates sustainable and just response to challenges such as public health emergencies, humanitarian crises, and climate change,” the ambassador said.

Marcos’ predecessor, former president Rodrigo Duterte, visited Qatar in 2017.

The last time a sitting amir undertook a state visit to the Philippines was in 2012, when Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani met with the late president Benigno Aquino III in Manila.

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