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Qatar Emir starts visits to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia today

KUALA LUMPUR  – Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will visit Muslim-majority Malaysia starting today on a two-day state visit amid a crisis with some neighbouring Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, with which Malaysia has close relations.

The emir will visit Malaysia on Oct 15-16, according to Malaysia’s information department.The Foreign Ministry (Wisma Putra) in a statement  here today said Sheikh Tamim will be accompanied by several cabinet ministers, senior government officials and a business delegation.

“This will be Sheikh Tamim’s first state visit to Malaysia since he ascended to the throne on June 25, 2013 as the eighth Emir of Qatar. The last state visit by the Emir of  Qatar to Malaysia was by his father Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani from May 19 — 20,  2009,” Wisma Putra said..

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic and trade links with Qatar in June, accusing it of supporting regional foe Iran and Islamists, charges Qatar’s leaders deny.

Last month, Qatar’s emir renewed a call “for an unconditional dialogue based on mutual respect for sovereignty”.

Oil major Saudi Aramco agreed to invest $7 billion in Malaysian state energy firm Petronas’ downstream project during King Salman’s visit.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani is also scheduled to visit Indonesia on Oct. 17-18 to try to strengthen relationship between the two countries, especially in the business sector, an Indonesian official confirmed on Friday (13/10).

This is a return visit by the Emir after President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo visited Qatar in September 2015.

“The most important agenda during the Emir’s visit will be his one-on-one meeting with President Jokowi to discuss various topics, especially economic partnerships,” Sunarko, the Middle East director general at Indonesia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said during a media briefing in Jakarta.

The Emir will bring along an entourage of 43 delegations which include businessmen from various sectors including energy, trade and investment.

A business forum is set to be held in Jakarta on Oct. 18 for the Qatar delegations and 150 Indonesian businessmen to discuss possible business agreements.

“Qatar is a country with considerable economic potential and a large energy capacity [so] we’re hoping for profitable agreements,” Sunarko said.

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