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Qatar emir visits Spain as EU eyes gas alternatives

2. Qatar Emir
Spain’s King Felipe VI (second right), Spain’s Queen Letizia (left), Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani (second left) and his spouse Jawaher bint Hamad bin Suhaim Al-Thani (right) pose for pictures during an official reception ceremony in Madrid, on May 17, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

MADRID — Qatar’s emir began a state visit to Spain on Tuesday as Europe seeks to diversify its natural gas supply sources to reduce its energy dependence on Russia.اضافة اعلان

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani was welcomed by King Felipe VI at Madrid’s royal palace at the start of his two-day visit, his first to Spain since he ascended the throne in 2013.

The emir, who is accompanied by Qatar’s foreign and energy ministers, is scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Wednesday.

Spain and Qatar are expected to sign a dozen economic and commercial contracts during his visit, mainly regarding energy, according to a Spanish government source.

The visit comes as the EU is aiming to cut its reliance on Russian gas by two-thirds this year due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia currently supplies around 40 percent of Europe’s gas needs.

Qatar, which has the third-largest natural gas reserves in the world, is currently Spain’s fifth-biggest supplier of natural gas after the US, Algeria, Nigeria, and Egypt.

The country accounted for 4.4 percent of Spain’s total gas imports in April and the Spanish government hopes this share could increase.

“We are working closely with our European counterparts” on the long-term supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG), Qatar’s ambassador to Spain, Abdullah Al-Hamar, told Spanish daily 20 Minutos.

The emir of Qatar’s trip to Europe will also include visits to Germany, Britain, Slovenia, and Switzerland, where he will attend the World Economic Forum which will run in the mountain resort of Davos from May 22–26.


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