Nepal and Qatar share multi-faceted relations. Over 500,000 Nepali migrant workers are said to be currently working in this Gulf nation. Besides exchange of high level visits to cement the ties, Nepal and Qatar have also been expanding various avenues of cooperation. The relations between the two countries have deepened further with Qatar establishing residential embassy in Nepal. As Qatar is celebrating its National Day – the birthday of its founder Sheikh Jassim bin Mohamed Al Thani on Tuesday, Republica talked to Ambassador of Qatar to Nepal Yousuf bin Mohamed al-Hail. Excerpts:
How long have you been here in Nepal? What changes are you bringing to enhance bilateral relations between the two countries?
I assumed my office as ambassador to Nepal some two and a half years ago. I have been doing all I can to strengthen the relations between the two countries in different arenas. We are thankful to have signed an agreement on security cooperation, agriculture and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the exemption of visas for holders of special, diplomatic and official passports. We always work under the framework of agreements. It is very important in international relations. I have been putting efforts to sign more bilateral agreements and MoUs, in addition to exchanges of high-level visits.
The balance of trade is in favor of Qatar. How can Qatar help Nepal bridge this deficit?
Nepal has huge economic opportunities due to agricultural resources, pure water, and the industries which Nepal is famous for such as carpet and fabrics. We have an agreement signed between the chamber of commerce of the two countries to strengthen bilateral trade. However, the study of markets is very important. I spoke repeatedly about the significance of Nepali trade exhibitions in the state of Qatar for the promotion of its products. I also welcome trade preference measures as well as Qatari investments in Nepal through the signing of bilateral agreements.
Nepal seeks to bring more tourists in Nepal to boost its economy. How can Qatar help in this?
Nepal enjoys a wide range of natural tourist features that enable it to be on top of other countries in this field. I support the Visit Nepal 2020 initiative launched by the Ministry of Tourism with an aim to bring in 2 million tourists in a year. It is known that tourism can flourish by many factors such as political stability, which is available now in Nepal.
The plan of the government in Nepal to strengthen infrastructures will definitely contribute to this.
What are the plans of Qatar to further enhance the bilateral relations?
Our bilateral relationship is excellent and improving continuously. The two countries also have an abundance of natural resources. Therefore, there are various opportunities and ideas to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the fields of trade, investment, agriculture, tourism, minerals, and hydropower. The possible areas are wide open, and what we need is a joint effort and work to achieve common interests.
What message do you like to give to Nepali people on the occasion of Qatar's National Day?
I would like to express my thanks to all the Nepali people and those who work in the state of Qatar. I assure that they are appreciated and enjoy the care of the government of the state of Qatar. I hope to witness more improvement in our relations in the fields of culture, arts, academy, sports and we signed a MoU between Qatar Football Association and ANFA recently. I also thank my media friends and I wish success and achievement for everyone.