The Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte met on Wednesday with HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani in Manila.
At the outset of the meeting, HE the Minister of Foreign Affairs conveyed the greetings of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to the President of the Republic of the Philippines, as well as the hopes of the Amir for further progress and prosperity to the people of the Philippines.
For his part, Duterte sent his greetings to the Amir, and wished His Highness health and happiness and for the people of Qatar further progress and prosperity.
The meeting focused on discussing bilateral relations and the means to enhance them, in addition to discussing a number of issues of joint interest. HE the Minister of Foreign Affairs stressed on the strength of ties, and on Qatar's commitment to enhancing them along with increasing economic and political cooperation with the Philippines.
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will visit the Philippines later this year, Philippine online news portal philstar.com yesterday said , quoting Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.
"We look forward to the state visit of the Amir of Qatar Shiekh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani later this year, where he will surely be warmly welcomed by President Rodrigo Duterte," Cayetano said yesterday.
Cayetano met with his Qatari counterpart, who is on a visit to the Philippines, to discuss the proposed convening of the joint committee meeting on labour matters, investment opportunities, regional issues in the Gulf and other ways to further enhance bilateral relations.
"Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani and I had a fruitful discussion on advancing Philippine-Qatar relations, covering all our foreign policy goals and addressing the needs of our nationals in Qatar," Cayetano said.
In their meeting, the foreign affairs secretary also conveyed the Philippines' gratitude to Qatar for granting royal pardon to 25 Filipino detainees during Eid al-Fitr.
In April 2017, the Philippines and Qatar signed agreements involving matters on culture, investment, technical education cooperation and health during Duterte's visit to Doha.
According to the DFA, Qatar is the sixth export market and fourth import market of the Philippines in the Middle East. Around 255,000 Filipinos reside in the Gulf state, most of whom are working in the nursing and services sector.
His Highness the Amir's visit to a number of Asean member countries , including the Philippines, will further boost opportunities for the development of Asean-Qatar relations, the chairman of the Asean Committee in Doha (ACD) had said.
“The frequent high level visits between Asean and the GCC (especially Qatar) have demonstrated that distance is no obstacle to the development of warm political relations and economic co-operation,” noted Dato Ahmad Fadil bin Shamsuddin, also the Malaysian ambassador.
He was speaking at the 51st Asean Day celebration at the Sheraton Grand Doha Resort and Convention Hotel on Wednesday, which was attended by Asean heads of missions.
Shamsuddin cited the Amir’s state visits to Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore in 2017, which paved the way to strengthen bilateral relations and close co-operation in various fields.
“Asean is keen to deepen co-operation with international partners, including the GCC for mutual benefit,” he pointed out.
“The Asean embassies accredited in Doha (Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines) look forward to increase bilateral investments for the business communities of Southeast Asia and Qatar,” the envoy said.
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