EXTERNAL Affairs Minister Humza Yousaf travelled to Qatar today to begin a three-day visit to promote Scottish exports and expertise in the Middle East.
• Scotland seeks to strengthen Middle Eastern trade ties as Humza Yousaf makes trip to Qatar
• Mr Yousaf’s trip follows Alex Salmond’s visit last October
Humza Yousaf’s trip follows First MInister Alex Salmond’s visit to the country last October, and is aimed at further strengthening Scotland’s economic, diplomatic and cultural links with the region.
The Minister was invited by the Qatari Government to speak at this year’s Doha Forum, which hosts discussions on democracy, development and free trade in the Middle East.
Mr Yousaf said: “My visit to Qatar is the latest in a series of Scottish Government visits to the Gulf region as we seek to deepen the already excellent relationships we have with Qatar, other Arab countries and the Muslim world.
“I am keen to continue strengthening Scotland’s relations with Qatar, to the mutual benefit of both our countries. Over the past decade, Scottish companies have exported £470 million worth of goods and services to Qatar and we are seeking to be even more ambitious.
“Scotland and Qatar are both oil and gas producing countries, and we have a great deal in common regarding the development of our energy sectors. But our friendship is based on so much more than economics: we have bonds across a range of sectors, in particular academia and culture.”
Mr Yousaf will also undertake a series of meetings during his visit, exploring how further links can be developed between the Scottish and Qatari Governments.
The SNP administration has previously faced criticism from its political opponents over its relationship with Qatar due to the Arab state’s human rights record.