Doha – The 19th edition of the Korea-Middle East Cooperation Forum was held today under the theme: “Korean and Middle East: Towards Stronger Cooperation and Partnership.” The forum took place under the patronage of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar and the Republic of Korea, in partnership with the Diplomatic Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Middle East Council on Global Affairs, the Korea-Arab Society, the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity, and Ibn Khaldun Center at Qatar University.

The forum was attended by a gathering of prominent political, economic, and academic figures from the Republic of Korea and the Middle Eastern countries.
Doha hosted the forum for the first time since its inception amidst growing relations and cooperation between the Republic of Korea and the countries of the Middle East and North Africa in various fields, including politics, diplomacy, and culture.

HE Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Ahmed bin Hassan Al Hammadi said in his opening speech that today’s forum is inaugurated as the two sides are on the verge of celebrating 50 years since the establishment of relations between the two countries in 1974. He added that relations between Qatar and the Republic of Korea have witnessed continuous development on all levels, leading to the elevation of bilateral relations to the level of comprehensive strategic partnership.

He further noted that this forum takes place amidst difficult political and humanitarian conditions in the region, with the continuous deterioration and escalation of conflict in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel, ongoing indiscriminate shelling in Gaza, and attempts at forced displacement and the besiegement of its people.

He extended his greetings and appreciation to the Korean people and human rights organizations in Korea, which organize protests against the continuous genocide of the Palestinian people by Israel.

Bearing significance on its first convening in the Middle East in five years, HE Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs at the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Byung-won Chung, emphasized in his speech the importance of the forum, highlighting the significance of dialogue and democracy in resolving conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa.

For his part Director of the Diplomatic Institute at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Abdulaziz Al Horr emphasized the strength of relations between Korea, Qatar, and all the countries in the region, pointing out that the true strength of their relationship lies not only in technology, infrastructure, and liquefied gas but in the human, cultural, and diplomatic bonds fostered over the years. He noted that these connections are the lifeblood of their partnership, fostering mutual understanding and respect.

Moreover, Executive Chairman of the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity Young-hoon Kang expressed gratitude in his speech to the officials of both countries\’ foreign ministries and organizers for hosting and arranging this session, asserting that this forum would serve as a means to enhance cooperation in key sectors such as defense and energy, while also broadening the scope of collaboration to address new challenges.

Send Director of the Ibn Khaldun Center at Qatar University Dr. Nayef bin Nahar emphasized the importance of cultural cooperation and exchange in strengthening relations between Korea and the Middle East and their peoples, stating that this forum is essential in the context of the East discovering itself and recognizing the interrelations among Eastern countries and their people, away from the dominance of the European center.

Qatar’s Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, Khalid bin Ibrahim Al Hamar, highlighted the significant transformation in bilateral relations in various fields of cooperation, moving from traditional areas such as infrastructure, energy, and construction towards new domains such as smart industries, agriculture, health, renewable energy, and hydrogen. He emphasized that this elevation to a strategic partnership level will open future prospects for various sectors and companies to benefit from the economic diversity of Qatar and Korea.

The event included three panels discussing future prospects for Korea and the Middle East; strengthening economic partnerships in the era of green transformation; and the future of humanitarian and cultural ties between Korea and the Middle East.

In conclusion, both the Secretary-General of the Korea-Arab Society Chang-Mo Kim, and Dr. Tarek Youssef, who is the Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Affairs Council for International Affairs, emphasized the importance of these meetings and dialogues in confronting the challenges arising from the uncertainty about the future of globalization. 

Source : Zawya

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