S'pore, Qatar expand areas of cooperation

S'pore, Qatar expand areas of cooperation
Qatar's Foreign Minister Khalid Mohammed Al Attiyah (seated, left) and Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Masagos Zulkifli (seated, right) sign the MOU between the Qatar Foreign Ministry (Diplomatic Institute) and the Singapore Foreign Affairs Ministry (Diplomatic Academy). Looking on are Qatar PM Sheikh Abdullah and DPM Teo.

Singapore and Qatar will cooperate in developing public sector leaders, one of several areas of cooperation the two countries will pursue after a flurry of agreements inked on Thursday.

The sixth High-Level Joint Committee meeting, co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah Nasser Khalifa Al Thani, ended with five memorandums of understanding being signed.

Three involve cooperation in training public officers, including those involved in foreign affairs.

DPM Teo told reporters later that both countries also shared their experience in water technology and rail development at the meeting.

He added: "Qatar is looking for food security and water security, and it found that the model for water security that we have in Singapore is a very interesting one.

"Water security will be the foundation for food security in Qatar."

Economic relations could also be strengthened with the Gulf Cooperation Council-Singapore Free Trade Agreement having come into force in September, a joint statement from both countries' foreign ministries said.

The pact exempts about 95 per cent of all tariff lines for Singapore exports to the six Gulf Cooperation states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

It also grants zero-tariff treatment for imports from these countries in return.

Before the meeting at the St Regis Singapore hotel, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in his opening remarks, reaffirmed Singapore's ties with Qatar. Annual bilateral trade has reached almost $10 billion, with Qatar being Singapore's third largest trading partner in the Middle East, he said.

Qatar supplied the first shipment of liquified natural gas (LNG) used to commission Singapore's new LNG terminal in March, he noted.

The joint committee will meet in Qatar next year, during which both countries will celebrate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations.


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