The British Ambassador to the state of Qatar, HE Mr Nicholas Hopton joined over two thousand guests of the British Embassy to celebrate the birthday of Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II, with guests of honour HE Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, Minister of Municipality and Urban Planning and His Excellency Ali Sharif Al Emadi, Minister of Finance.
In attendance were leading UK sporting figures involved in Qatar, such as the double Olympic British Champion, Dame Kelly Holmes, members of the British and Qatari communities, the Diplomatic Corps and international business and government, media guests, plus staff from the British schools in Qatar who also celebrated the strong partnerships between the UK and Qatar.
Guests were kept entertained by the talents of the Qatar’s military band, Sonja Park and Dimitri Torchinsky from Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, and the local band Groove Office, as well as the British astronomer, Dr Maggie Adernin Pocock who presented two sessions in the evening.
In his speech at the reception, Nicholas Hopton said:
Ever since 1748, British Embassies around the world have celebrated the Queen (or King’s) birthday as our National Day. This is especially relevant in a country such as Qatar where our two Royal Families have close and enduring ties. As I look back over the last twelve months, I can say that across the board the bilateral relationship between Qatar and the UK continues to go from strength to strength. Highlights for me from the past year include two visits of His Highness Sheikh Tamim to the UK – firstly to enjoy the Royal Ascot in June, where he rode in a carriage with HM Queen Elizabeth and HRH Prince Philip, and then his first official visit to the UK in October.
During this visit His Highness had an excellent meeting with the Prime Minister and senior members of government. We signed a number of memorandums of understanding with Qatar, including a Government to Government MOU on Security and a bilateral overarching political agreement, the Sharaka. I’m delighted to say the first Sharaka meeting was held in February and was chaired by the Foreign Minister’s Assistant, HE Minister Rumeihi, and our Minister for the Middle East, Mr Tobias Ellwood.
In another demonstration of the closeness of our Royal families, HRH Prince Charles visited Qatar in February for a meeting with His Highness the Emir – the third time he has visited Qatar in just under two years.
Looking forward to 2015 I am confident that the Qatar and the UK will continue to enjoy a strong and close partnership. A partnership which covers defence, foreign policy, culture, education, energy, trade and investment, to name just a few areas in which we will be working closely together.
2015 will be sure to bring new challenges to an already volatile region, but a region where Qatar and the UK will continue to work together closely in the field of diplomacy and security.
On the home front, the UK will continue to offer strong support to Qatar as it works towards the successful delivery of the 2022 World Cup and its 2030 National Vision. I’m pleased to see so many of you here today from the British companies that are so visibly contributing to the development of Qatar and the realisation of these ambitious projects.
On behalf of Her Majesty’s Government, thank you for supporting the Qatar-UK partnership. With your continued support I’m confident we will take this important relationship from strength to strength, and look forward to an ever-closer partnership between our two countries.
Our two countries are bound together by history and friendship. As our Prime Minister made clear to His Highness the Emir during his visit to the UK in October – your security is our security, your prosperity is our prosperity and your success is our success.’