Speech of Sheikh Tamim Bio Hamad Al Thani, Amir of Qatar, at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), via videoconferencing on June 4, 2021.

IT gives me pleasure to extend many thanks to President Vladimir Putin for his kind invitation to us to participate in this forum, held in this ancient city known for producing culture, literature and art and resisting occupation, and for choosing the state of Qatar as the guest state at the forum.

This forum is being held against the backdrop of great economic conditions and challenges at the local, regional and international levels, especially amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and its serious negative repercussions on the global economy, which have doubled the need for convening the forum as it has become an important global event in the field of economics and business. This forum is considered also as a paradigm for the initiatives that should be undertaken by the international community to contribute to establishing a sound environment for the regional and global economy and investment, and to finding effective solutions to common economic challenges.

The broad international participation in this forum undoubtedly reflects the prestigious position assumed by Russia in the region and the world.

We in the state of Qatar take pride in the strong historical relations with the Russian Federation. These relations have witnessed a concrete development over the last two decades in various political and economic fields, especially in trade and investment domains as the State of Qatar has assumed an advanced position on foreign investors' list in Russia.

In this context, we value our active cooperation in the economic sphere, especially in the energy field, and in confirmation of our confidence in the robustness of the Russian economy and the importance of investing in it, the volume of Qatar's investments in Russia has doubled in recent years, and we look forward to increasing it in the coming years.

The economic cooperation between Qatar and Russia is not limited to direct investments, but rather goes beyond that to include coordination to create the necessary international regulatory frameworks to promote this cooperation, and I point out here that the two countries have established, together with other friendly countries, the Doha-based Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF).

The state of Qatar is going through a significant stage in its overall development by means of implementing its national strategies, numerous programs and projects in accordance with the Qatar National Vision 2030, and I confirm that the main driving force of Qatar's economy at this phase is the investments in infrastructure and development projects, especially in education, health, transportation, research, small and medium enterprises, etc. We seek to achieve progress in economic diversification and to focus on increasing private sector investments in all economic sectors by providing incentives, offering partnership projects between the public and private sectors, and attracting direct foreign investments.

I point out here that the development projects in the State of Qatar provide great opportunities for foreign companies to increase their participation in Qatar's economy in various sectors.

Over the recent years we have developed and introduced pivotal amendments to many legislation that enhance private sector' s participation and attract foreign investments, which have contributed to creating ai1 attractive environment for investment.

The state of Qatar is working to increase investment in green and sustainable energy, and other areas that will contribute to preserving the environment and combating climate change.

The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the extent to which the lives of peoples and their destinies in our modem world are intertwined and correlated. It has been proven that no country can alone confront a catastrophe of the magnitude of this pandemic, and that investing in research to fight it and prevent similar outbreaks in the future must be an international effort, and that the international community must work hard and diligently to make vaccines and treatment accessible to all, especially the poor peoples or those who face upheavals and wars for it is not acceptable to subjugate people's health to the laws of the market and global trade. On this occasion, I commend Russia's role in producing and distributing vaccines.

On the other hand, strengthening the economy, investment, and the values of innovation, work and production, together with promoting common human values, is the means to build the necessary potentials to fight the pandemic and overcome other global problems such as climate change. It is also the path for people to restore their normal life that they miss since the outbreak of the pandemic. It will also support our health institutions, scientific research and make vaccination possible for all inhabitants of this planet. In this context, we call on the private sector in Russia and the world to explore the promising Qatari business environment in many projects and in various fields.