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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Qatari-Iranian committee convenes in Doha

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

An Iranian delegation visited in the Qatari capital Doha for two days of talks to boost economic ties, from May 13, 2018. Christof Koepsel / Getty Images
An Iranian delegation visited in the Qatari capital Doha for two days of talks to boost economic ties, from May 13, 2018. 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.