17 October 2011

Emir of Qatar to visit Macedonia on Monday

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, will arrive on Monday (Oct. 17) for a two-day official visit to the Republic of Macedonia upon an invitation by President Gjorge Ivanov.
This is the first official visit by a ruler from the Arab world since Macedonia declared independence. The Emir of Qatar kicks off his European tour in Macedonia, followed by visits to Albania, Poland and Ukraine.On Tuesday, according to the agenda, the Emir of Qatar is scheduled to meet with Premier Nikola Gruevski and with Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanoski. He is also set to tour Skopje's landmarks and the Old Bazaar.
The visit is significant because it lays a foundation for the political dialogue to be resumed and represents a strong signal for intensifying overall cooperation, especially business ties, President's cabinet says in a press release on Friday.The Macedonian President and the Emir of Qatar at their meeting on Monday will discuss bilateral relations and recent developments in Balkan countries, the Middle East and North Africa.
An emphasis will be put on advancing countries' economic relations - boosting trade exchange and reviewing possibilities for direct Qatar investments in Macedonia's economy.Several bilateral agreements in the field of culture, education, health and economy will be signed during Qatar Emir's visit to Macedonia, reads the press release.
The governments of the Republic of Macedonia and the State of Qatar will ink treaties on mutual promotion and protection of investments, regulation of workers' employment in the State of Qatar and on visa abolition for owners of diplomatic, official and special passports.Both delegations will sign a memorandum of understanding for tourism cooperation between Macedonia's Ministry of Economy and Qatar's relevant body for tourism, a memorandum of understanding in the field of education between the two governments, a memorandum of cooperation in the health-care sector as well as cooperation accord in the sphere of culture.
Furthermore, an agreement for cooperation and information exchange between the Macedonian Information Agency and the Qatar News Agency, a memorandum of understanding between the Macedonian Economic Chamber, the Association of Chambers of Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce of Northwestern Macedonia and the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as an agreement establishing common business council will be signed.In 2003, Qatar provided financial and political support for the summit of SEE heads of state entitled "Dialogue Among Civilisations", which was initiated by late president Boris Trajkovski.
Macedonia will once again host the summit in 2013, ten years after it was held for the first time.
Macedonia was one of the first countries in the region that opened a diplomatic and consular office in Doha in 2005. Interest has been shown for opening Qatar's embassy in Macedonia in due time, Ivanov's cabinet has said.
Ivanov and Al Thani have held talks previously in 2009 in New York and in 2010 in Doha.
The Qatari delegation will be made up of 100 members, including two members of the royal family and 12 ministers.
During Qatar Emir's two-day visit, the citizens of Skopje will be faced with traffic restrictions.

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