GCC, Russia to hold strategic dialogue in Abu Dhabi

October 31, 2011
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The first strategic dialogue between Russia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and important regional organisations will take place in Abu Dhabi on November 1, the Russian ambassador in Qatar has said.

The ministerial-level meeting will focus on areas of cooperation between Russia and the GCC countries on the economic and political fronts and will explore possibilities of Russian participation in major regional projects, such as the GCC railway network, the integrated electricity system and nuclear power projects, said Dr Vladimir Titorenko, quoted by Qatari media. 

The meeting will also discuss the major political issues in the region, especially the Syrian crisis. According to the diplomat, Russia is not an advocate of the Syrian government and has strongly condemned the use of force by the Syrian army against the demonstrators.

However, Titorenko said that the protests in Syria could no more be called peaceful after the demonstrators started using weapons against the army. Some outside elements are arming the demonstrators, he said.

Addressing a press conference in Doha on Sunday, the ambassador said Russia was in contact with the Syrian government as well as the opposition groups to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. Titorenko said President Bashar Al Assad should not delay the reforms that he had promised to the people and the opposition should positively respond to calls for dialogue.

“It is surprising that many Qatari analysts have not properly understood the Russian position on Syria,” Titorenko said. “We are viewed as advocates of the Syrian government. Russia has strongly condemned the use of force by the Syrian army against the demonstrators.

President Bashar Al Assad should implement the reforms as quickly as possible. He is late with the reforms,” the ambassador said, quoted by Qatari daily The Peninsula. He said there was no unity among the Syrian opposition groups and some of them were refusing to negotiate with the government.

“This is a problem. While the government is ready for dialogue, the opposition is not. Responsibility will then lie on those who are refusing to negotiate,” he said. He said Russian government was dealing with the opposition groups, as well as the government to find a solution to the crisis.

Three delegations from the opposition had recently visited Moscow. On relations between Russia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, the ambassador said.

In comments on Qatar-Russian relations, Titorenko said his country has expressed its interest in associating with Qatar railway projects and in offering technical assistance to develop agriculture in Qatar using innovative approaches.

“Through the import of a particular variety of soil from Russia, this country would be able to develop a sizeable number of trees and plants. The time-tested method has many takers and Russia is hopeful that this would go a long way in the development of agriculture in Qatar,” he said, quoted by Qatari daily Gulf Times.

Around 1,500 Russians live in Qatar, employed mainly in the hospitality, medical and banking sectors as well as the oil and gas industries.

The Russian embassy has requested the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) to make use of Russian expertise in sectors like ophthalmology, cardiology, orthopaedics and general surgery, the diplomat said.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/government/gcc-russia-to-hold-strategic-dialogue-in-abu-dhabi-1.921176

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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