Salmond: Scotland is remarkably like Qatar

Alex Salmond hailed the “remarkable similarities” between Scotland and Qatar during a visit to the oil-rich Gulf state.

The First Minister met Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, emir of Qatar, and Sheikh Hamid Bin Jassim Bin Jaboor Al Thani, prime minister and foreign minister, in Doha yesterday.

Mr Salmond is on a five-day trip to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to discuss collaboration on innovation and energy with a focus on renewables, low carbon and education.

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He said: “As nations, we both have considerable expertise in oil and gas production, but as we look to the future and a low-carbon economy, we must increasingly develop new technologies.

“We discussed the remarkable similarities between our respective nations. Although both Scotland and Qatar have common strengths in the oil and gas sector, we are both seeking to develop our low-carbon energy industries.

“This is where Qatar’s focus on becoming a global knowledge hub links well with Scotland’s considerable reputation as a world-leading education nation.

“Scotland currently has five of the world’s top 200 universities. The creation of Education City, a 2,500-acre complex for 80 educational, research, science and community development organisations, is testament to the Qatari ambition to develop its knowledge base, and I look forward to Scotland playing a role in these developments.”

Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said: “We’re both innovative, determined and forward-thinking, and we both realise the long-term importance and economic benefits of developing low-carbon technologies, while continuing to support our world-class hydrocarbon sectors.

“Scotland’s experience and reputation in education fits well with Qatar’s current focus on becoming internationally renowned as a centre of excellence for knowledge and education.

“By strengthening our relations, we can learn new ways of working and help Scottish companies trade more effectively with Qatar.”