The friendly and positive relations between Croatia and Qatar are accompanied by a recent rise in bilateral trade which could be further enhanced, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, agreed after their meeting in Zagreb on Monday.
Croatia and Qatar nurture friendly relations, although their economic cooperation could be greatly expanded, heads of state of the two countries, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, and Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, told reporters after their meeting in Zagreb on Monday.
Sheikh Al Thani arrived in the Croatian capital for a two-day return visit, after Croatia’s Grabar-Kitarovic had visited that Persian Gulf country in April 2017.
Grabar-Kitarovic and Al Thani also discussed regional policies and issues that make the present-day world unstable.
“Our bilateral political relations are friendly and positive, but for them to be enhanced and strengthened, it is necessary to intensify the contacts in all fields of cooperation… I firmly believe that the development of bilateral relations with the countries of the Persian Gulf will be of great importance for Croatia,” Grabar-Kitarovic said.
Al Thani commended the presence of Croatian businesses in Qatar, which contribute to the local economy, he said.
The 500-strong Croatian community in Qatar can serve as a link between the two nations and a bridge between our two countries, Grabar-Kitarovic added.
They listed energy, food production, construction industry, health industry, tourism, and high tech sector as areas where bilateral cooperation could be improved.
Croatia is set to attract Qatari investments in tourism, notably health tourism, food manufacturing and the defence industry, as well as infrastructure projects, and petrochemicals.
In 2017, the Croatia-Qatar trade totalled $63.9 million, up 3.4 percent from 2016. That year, Croatia’s exports increased by 16.4 percent to $62.9 million, and imports from Qatar soared by 80.9 percent to $1 million.
In terms of visitors, in 2017 nearly 5,000 Qatari nationals visited Croatia, which is a year-on-year rise of 365 percent. Over the first ten months of 2018, the number of Qatari tourists in Croatia rose almost 6,000.
Al Thani congratulated Croatia on having won the silver medal at the Football World Cup in Russia this summer, and expressed hope that he would welcome Croatia’s president in Qatar in 2022, when his country is set to host the next World Cup.
After the talks between the two countries’ delegations, eight agreements and memorandums were signed, dealing with cooperation in culture, education, science, defence, sports, and agriculture.
Another agreement on the cooperation between the Croatian state-run news agency Hina and the Qatar News Agency (QNA) was signed by Hina director Branka Gabrijela-Vojvodic, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, Qatar’s Foreign Minister.
President Grabar-Kitarovic said that she was very pleased that her office had donated a collection of books to the Qatar National Libratry, officially opened in April.
It is one of the biggest libraries in the Arab world, including more than a million books in its inventory, including rare manuscripts and priceless artefacts of cultural and historical importance.