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LATIN AMERICA | 01-10-2018 13:00

Qatar emir to meet with President Macri during tour of Latin America

Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani is to meet the presidents of Ecuador, Peru, Argentina and Paraguay to 'discuss ways of strengthening relations and bilateral cooperation in various fields.'

Qatar's emir is to start a tour of Latin American countries on Monday, the emirate's official news agency QNA reported, as Doha seeks new alliances in the face of a Gulf blockade. President Mauricio Macri will be among those to meet with the emir.

Qatar, the world’s top supplier of Image result for liquefied natural gas, has investments in Argentina through Qatar Petroleum.

Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani is to meet the presidents of Ecuador, Peru, Argentina and Paraguay to "discuss ways of strengthening relations and bilateral cooperation in various fields," QNA said Saturday, without specifying the duration of the tour.

“The Emir will pay a state visit on October 1 to a number of friendly Latin American countries, including Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay and Argentina. [The visits] are based on invitations from their leaders,” the state news agency reported.

Argentine interests

The emir will arrive in Buenos Aires on Thursday, accompanied by a delegation of around 140 officials and businessmen. Sources say they are planning an ambitious package of new investment agreements, which could come at a vital time for the Macri administration with Argentina gripped by economic crisis.

This will be the third time in less than two years that President Macri will meet with Al-Thani, who is the owner of extensive lands in Patagonia. Qatar have also sealed advertising deals with the football club the president previously led, Boca Juniors. 

According to diplomatic sources, agreements will likely be signed in areas related to renewable energy, shale gas, agricultural products, science and mining.

In addition to the meeting with Macri, Al-Thani will alsov meet with Finance Minister Nicolás Dujovne,  Energy Secretary Javier Iguacel and Trade Secretary Miguel Braun.

 

New alliances

Doha has been working to build new alliances since a diplomatic crisis broke out in June 2017, pitting it against a bloc led by Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed a sweeping embargo on the gas-rich emirate, sparking the worst rift within the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The four countries accuse Doha of seeking closer ties with Saudi Arabia's arch-rival Iran and of supporting radical Islamist groups.

Qatar denies the charges, accusing its neighbours of seeking regime change.

- AFP

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