Qatari-Iranian committee convenes in Doha

A 70-member Iranian economic delegation headed to the Qatari capital for trade and industry talks

DOHA, QATAR - JANUARY 04:  View of the skyline of the West Bay area in Doha with a dhau boat is taken on January 4, 2011 in Doha, Qatar. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently reiterated its projection for the Qatari economy with predictions of double digit growth for 2010 and 2011. Though natural gas and petroleum production are still the biggest two single sources of income, the non-energy sector overtook oil and gas in Qatari GDP for 2009. Qatar is heavily dependant on foreign labour from countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Phillipines and other Arab countries. Foreigners make up approximately two thirds of the Qatari population. The FIFA world cup 2022 will takes place in Qatar.  (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)

A joint Iranian-Qatari economic committee convened in Doha on Sunday for the first time in 13 years, according to Tehran’s state news agency IRNA.

The report said a 70-member Iranian delegation, which includes experts and businessmen from the private and public sectors, headed to the Qatari capital to take part in a two-day conference.

Mohammed Reza Fayyad, deputy minister of industry, who is heading the delegation, said the meeting will address a number of issues relevant to both countries.

“There are five panels that will hold discussions on trade, mines, customs, oil, petrochemicals, exports and banking,” he said. “Close co-operation between Iran and Qatar has taken a new direction and is moving towards strengthening relations.

“Although there is little trade with Qatar, trading between [the two countries] is expected to see remarkable progress in light of appropriate planning.”

Mr Fayyad said that there are “no serious obstacles” standing in the way of strengthening relations between Doha and Tehran.

He said that the conference marks the sixth meeting of a joint Qatari-Iranian economic committee.

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“Iranian-Qatari relations have witnessed noticeable growth in the past year after Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar,” the IRNA report said.

The four Arab countries severed links with Qatar in June 2017 over its support of extremists and interference in other countries’ affairs. They also accused the country of developing close relations with Tehran.

The value of trade between the two countries in the year to March amounted to US$250 million (Dh918 million), according to the IRNA report.

The joint meeting comes a day after The Telegraph reported that the United States had asked Qatar to stop financing militias loyal to Iran.

The request follows the recent disclosure of emails from senior figures in Qatar’s government that suggest they were on close terms with influential members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, such as Maj Gen Qassem Soleimani, and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.

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