Six months after President Mohamed Irfaan Ali visited Doha, the Emir of Qatar, His Majesty Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar on September 12, became the first Arab Head of State to visit Guyana. The President of Guyana, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, welcomed him at the State House. The Emir was accorded an official reception and luncheon at the State House in his honour by President Mohamed Irfaan Ali.
The Prime Minister, Mark Phillips and the entire Cabinet of the President were at the airport to receive the Emir. Guyana’s Ambassador to Qatar Sarfaraz Shadood, Guyana’s Middle East Ambassador, George Hallaq, and the Qatar Ambassador to Guyana were also at the airport to welcome the Emir.
It is the highest state visit by a current head of state in the history of independent Guyana and from the world’s most prosperous country that plans to partner with Guyana in a transformation era committed to significant investments and respect for peaceful coexistence and respect for each State’s sovereignty.
Qatar Embassy in Guyana
During the visit, the Emir announced the opening of an Embassy in Guyana, which will facilitate Guyana and Caricom in expanding bilateral and economic activities. While this isn’t the first Arab Embassy in Guyana, Egypt, Iraq, and Libya have all closed their embassies in Guyana; hence, the Qatar Embassy in Guyana will be the first Arab Embassy in Guyana since those closures.
Oil & Gas Investments
The two leaders made no specific announcement on oil and gas. However, speculation is that Qatar may invest in a Guyana Oil Bloc. Having a Qatar Embassy opened in Guyana may boost the chances for that.
The recent spike in engagement between Qatar and Guyana is credited to the efforts of President Mohammed Irfaan Ali, Guyana’s First Resident Ambassador to Qatar, Safraaz Ahmad Shadood and Guyana’s Middle East Ambassador, George Hallaq.
Qatar is keen to broaden its presence in Guyana and the Caribbean. After all, Guyana is home to the Caricom Secretariat, a grouping of 15 countries that Qatar also seeks to build relationships with in the near future. After the Qatar blockade, Doha is expanding its global outreach and broadening its support network.
Three Agreements Inked
President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali held bilateral discussions with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and his delegation on Tuesday at State House in Georgetown.
According to the Office of the President, the discussions encompassed various areas of mutual interest and cooperation.
President Ali and the Emir also witnessed the signing of two agreements and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two states.
The two agreements signed focus on economic, commercial, and technical cooperation and the encouragement and protection of mutual investments, according to The Peninsula (Qatar).
Fostering cooperation in the field of law was the aim of the MOU.
Joining President Ali was Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips; Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo; Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance Dr Ashni Singh; Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hugh Todd and several Ministers and other Government Officials.
Accompanying the Emir was his Chief of the Amiri Dawan, HE Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani; the Minister of State for Energy Affairs, HE Saad bin Sherida Al Kabbi; the Minister of Commerce and Industry; HE Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Bin Qassim Al Thani; the Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, HE Dr Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Al-Khulaifi and several other senior members of his government.