The first Senior Official Meeting between the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs was held in Brussels on 4 July 2019, co-chaired by Secretary-General of the European External Action Service, Helga Schmid, and State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi.

The meeting launched the implementation of the Cooperation Arrangement between the EEAS and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar signed on 7 March 2018 during the official visit of H.H. the Emir of the State of Qatar to Brussels. The Cooperation Arrangement aims at providing a framework to exchange views on issues of common interest and to explore different areas of cooperation between both sides.

Today’s high level political consultations focused on EU-Qatar bilateral relations and the recent developments in the Gulf, including the enduring Gulf rift now on its third year. Both sides stressed the need to defuse tensions and avoid escalation which would have a dramatic impact in the region and beyond. Discussions paid also particular attention to Yemen, the Middle East Peace Process, the situation in the Horn of Africa, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan and Libya.

Both sides stressed their commitment to continue their work and cooperation to promote peace and sustainable solutions to existing conflicts.

Participants welcomed the outputs of the first meeting of the Human Rights Working Group held in Doha last December and reiterated their intention to hold the second edition in Brussels before the end of the year.

The exchanges in today’s Senior Officials’ Meeting also sought ways to enhance sectoral cooperation and coordination, with the EEAS and the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcoming prospects for closer interaction in the fields of security and counterterrorism, conflict prevention and mediation, development cooperation and humanitarian assistance, and economic and social issues.

Cooperation on a number of issues like exchange of information, fight against terrorism, including financing of terrorism, and cyber security were discussed. Both sides intend to strengthen their security and counterterrorism partnership to eradicate terrorism and violent extremism. They agreed on the importance of increasing cooperation in the framework of the existing multilateral fora, such as GCTF and GCERF, and in this regard Qatar’s commitment to provide €66.5 million over five years to the work of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism was welcomed. The Qatari side provided an update on the preparation of security plans for the World Cup in 2022.

The two sides also exchanged information on their respective work in the fields of development cooperation and humanitarian assistance, in particular in the Middle East and Africa, on areas such as youth issues, health and refugees. Both sides explained their policies, approaches and tools and discussed concrete areas of possible cooperation.

Cooperation on economic and social matters was discussed with a focus on trade facilitation, investment, education, academic mobility and space including satellite navigation.

Both sides agree to continue and to follow-up their discussions. The second Senior Officials’ Meeting will be held in 2020 in Doha, Qatar.