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Camel racing in Qatar Photo: AP
Camel racing in Qatar Photo: AP

Israel-Qatar relations warming

Qatari foreign minister says his country may establish official relations with Jerusalem before establishment of a Palestinian state

Attila Somfalvi, New York
Published: 09.15.05, 20:41 / Israel News

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom has met with Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jasam al-Ta'ani, at the U.N. headquarters in New York.


Qatar said Thursday that it is contemplating the establishment of open diplomatic relations with Israel before the establishment of a Palestinian state.


The Gulf country's stance is different to that of Pakistan, which has said that while it is interested in developing relations with Israel, is holding off on a formal relationship until a Palestinian state comes into existence.


Shalom meets with his Qatari counterpart (Photo: Shahar Azran)


Israeli diplomatic sources have said the meeting, which was filmed and photographed, expresses a wish to advance relations between the two countries, and represents a "psychological breakthrough."


Al-Ta'ani said that following the disengagement, Israel should withdraw from the West Bank.


"We need to obtain a comprehensive peace, and one which is according to U.N. Security Council Council resolutions and the Oslo agreements," he said.


Referring to nuclear weapons, the Qatari foreign minister said, "We are a small country in the area, and we hope that everyone, including Israel, decides not to possess such weapons. I think that we must live in peace, without any kind of weapons of mass destruction."


The Qatari minister added that "Silvan Shalom and Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kidawa would be invited to a G-8 conference in order to advance international aid to all sides."


In the course of the meeting, Shalom said "for two years now, I have been meeting continuously with Arab leaders in secret. I very much hope that we will take a step forward."


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