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M'sia-Qatar Trade Relations Date Back 43 Years: Najib

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PUTRAJAYA - Bilateral relations between Malaysia and Qatar, especially in the trade sector has not been affected despite the Middle Eastern nation facing a crisis with other Gulf Countries, as relations between the two countries had been well established for the past 43 years, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.

He said Malaysia was known as a country which had good cooperation with all countries, as well as in the context of Muslim nations, by practising the principle of 'wasatiyyah' (moderation).

Najib said although Malaysia had a special relationship with Saudi Arabia, which had cut diplomatic relations with Qatar last June, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Hamad Al-Thani's visit to Malaysia has not raised any problem.

Najib said he was confident the Saudi government understood Malaysia's stand.

"We will continue to maintain the relationship (with Saudi Arabia) at its best, but this does not prevent us from having ties, especially economic relations with Qatar," he said in a press conference after meeting Sheikh Tamim Hamad at Seri Perdana here, today.

Also present were Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and Minister with Special Functions in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussien.

On June 5, five Gulf nations, namely Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Yemen announced the decision to break ties with Qatar, on grounds that the country supported terrorism.

Asked whether the Emir of Qatar had asked Malaysia to become the mediator between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Najib said: "It may be beyond Malaysia's capacity to become a mediator or offer itself as a mediator. But they (Qatar) know, Malaysia is a country that they can rely on in playing a positive part to the conflict's resolution, in matters of principle," he said.

Najib said during the meeting, the two also discussed cooperation on anti-terrorism and security.

He said the Emir of Qatar was serious about fighting terrorism, and hoped for a continued cooperation with Malaysia to address the issue.

"The Rohingya issue was also discussed, in which Qatar is aware that Malaysia is at the forefront of helping the Rohingyas, as well as in the construction of a 'field hospital' at Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.

"I also raised Qatar's promise to contribute USD 50 million, (RM210 milliom) (for the Rohingya) during the Deputy Prime Minister's (Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi) visit to Qatar, and the mechanism of how the donation can be channelled will now be determined," he said. 

-BERNAMA