Doha, 16 April 2023 (QT)
By Ashraf Siddiqui
Qatar is an important partner for Ukraine in the Middle East and the two countries have worked together on a range of issues, from food and energy security, trade and investments to cultural cooperation, Ambassador of Ukraine to Qatar Andrii Kuzmenko has said.
Talking to the reporter on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Qatar, the envoy said that over the past three decades, both countries have worked tirelessly to strengthen their friendship and cooperation. “During that time, our two countries have forged a strong and enduring partnership, one that has deepened and diversified in many fields. Our diplomatic relations have evolved to a robust partnership, characterised by mutual respect, shared global vision, trade and investment and cultural cooperation,” he said.
April 13, 2023 marked the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Qatar. The Embassy of Ukraine in Qatar was opened in 2012 and the Embassy of Qatar in Ukraine opened in 2013.
Ambassador Kuzmenko said these two embassies have played a crucial role in promoting dialogue and cooperation between the two countries, while also providing a platform for the exchange of ideas and the development of joint initiatives.
He said, “In recent years, we have seen significant progress in our economic relations. Our two countries have signed a number of agreements to boost trade and investment. In 2020, we truly witnessed a breakthrough in the field of investment, when a concession agreement was signed between the Ministry of
Infrastructure of Ukraine, the ‘Administration of Sea Ports of Ukraine’ and the winner of the competition for the concession of the Ukrainian port ‘Olvia’
(Mykolaiv Region), the Qatari company ‘QTerminals’.
With 35 year-long concession agreement, the Qatari company undertook to invest UAH 3.4 billion over the span of five years by committing to the development of the Ukrainian ‘Olvia’ port and its infrastructure.” QTerminals plans to modernise the grain terminal, update cargo equipment and improve warehouse facilities.
This is currently the largest direct foreign investment in the port industry of Ukraine since Ukrainian independence.
The envoy added that despite the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine, there is a growing interest from Qatari businesses in exploring opportunities in Ukraine, especially those in post-war reconstruction and development.
He hoped for a significant increase in the export of Ukrainian agricultural products to Qatar, which, potentially, can be one of the largest markets for Ukrainian grain in the Gulf region.
He said that both Ukraine and Qatar share common values in their long-standing commitment to peace and stability, as both countries have a goal to support development and improve food and energy security throughout the Middle East region and beyond. The ambassador believes that the synergy of both sides’ efforts can ensure a safer, more secure and more prosperous future for all.
The Ukrainian envoy expressed gratitude to Qatar for its significant contribution of $20 million under the ‘Grain from Ukraine’ humanitarian initiative and reiterated that it will continue joint efforts to mitigate the severe consequences of Russian aggression.
He hoped that Qatar will continue its noble mission in ‘Grain from Ukraine’ programme by participating in the Second International Summit for Food Security.
Kuzmenko said Qatar, in its capacity as an influential regional leader and in global political processes, can combine efforts on the implementation of the Peace Formula proposed on 15th November 2022 by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi during G20 summit which ensures lasting peace for the people of the whole world. Peace Formula ensures global food security and energy security.
He added that Ukraine is proud of the growing cultural ties with Qatar. “Our two countries have organised numerous cultural events and activities, including art exhibitions, concerts and movie screenings. These activities have helped to foster a deeper understanding of our respective cultures and traditions, and have strengthened the bonds between our peoples,” the envoy said.
Celebrating 30th diplomatic bilateral relations, he thanked the Qatari government and people for their continued support and friendship towards Ukraine. He hoped that strong bilateral relations will continue to deepen and expand in the years ahead.