Qatar has started rolling out events leading up to the 2022 World Cup in Doha, which will start on the 18 November this year. The Qatar Embassy in South Africa hosted a media lunch at His Excellency Ambassador Tariq

Ali Faraj Al-Ansari of Qatar’s residence.  He also represents Qatar to Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and Zimbabwe in non-resident capacity.

With only about 8 months left until the world’s premier football tournament kicks off for the first time in the Middle East and the Arab world, it was an opportunity for the Media to learn more about Qatar, its culture and the FIFA World Cup 2022. The conversations also focused

on the friendship between Qatar and South Africa, as well as the many business and other opportunities Qatar has to offer.

In his opening remarks His Excellency Ambassador Tariq Ali Faraj Al-Ansari, said the bilateral relations between the State of Qatar and the Republic of South Africa, officially commenced on 10 May 1994, the same day that Nelson Mandela was sworn in as the first democratic President of South Africa, after the fall of the Apartheid regime. Qatar was one of the first countries that the former late President Nelson Mandela visited in April 1995.

The bilateral relations between the two countries culminated in two historic visits by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (may God protect him the father’s father), in May 2002 to South Africa. The second was His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s visit in April 2017.

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani’s state visit to South Africa in May 2002 led to the opening of an Embassy of South Africa in Doha, the capital of Qatar, in September 2002. Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma the then Ministers of Foreign Affairs for South Africa

officially opened the embassy on 21 October 2003. Reciprocatively, Qatar opened its embassy in Pretoria in January 2003.

The cordial relations between the State of Qatar and the Republic of South Africa and high-level official visits reflect burgeoning development in political, economic and investment areas.

In addition to the Ambassador, Qatar Embassy Staff, CEO’s of Media Houses, Editor in Chief, Editors and Reporters from the different media houses such as SABC, Al-Jazeera, Pretoria News, Sunday Times, News Room

Afrika, Power FM Radio, Radio 702, Dunya Media, The Diplomatic Informer Magazine SA, The Diplomatic Society and many more attended the luncheon.

“I want to thank you all for coming; I am pleased to host this media lunch for the first time during my tenure in South Africa. Media plays a vital role in the dissemination of information, exchange of ideas and promotion of our countries to our societies, in the context of deepening

ties between our countries.  I believe that Media highlight the momentum that we should build in the following three areas to promote our friendship and cooperation,” he opened his remarks

“First, we need to enhance mutual understanding. Mutual understanding is the very foundation on which we build friendship and cooperation. Our two countries   require more exchange of visits at all levels to gain better knowledge about each other. We also invite more Media people from South Africa to visit Qatar,” he continued

“Second, in terms of economic cooperation, I am glad that we have already made some progress. Going forward, we should tap further into our potential, boost our economic cooperation and make it more fruitful,

expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges. We already have some success stories in this area. Therefore, our two sides can scale up exchanges in culture and sport. These will render more substance in our relations,” he advised.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has further revealed the great extent to which the modern world depends on technology and digital tools. In line with what other aspects of life have experienced, diplomacy also had to go digital, with many activities transferred to online platforms due to

pandemic-related gathering restrictions,” he reminded the audience

“Zoom, Google Meet, and such other platforms became important platforms for global decision-making gatherings, diplomatic meetings, events, lunches and conferences in lieu of travel. In many ways, the pandemic’s disruptive element has helped unleash new forms of virtual decision-making processes. However, it is great to finally have the Media physically present now,” he concluded.


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