Remarks at opening of Australian Embassy, Doha

  • Speech, check against delivery

Goodafternoon ladies and gentlemen.

Iacknowledge the Head of Protocol, Mr Fakhroo, our Ambassador to Qatar, AxelWabenhorst, and all of those who have gathered here today for this momentousoccasion.

Iam here to officially launch Australia's new Embassy in Qatar, here in theTornado Tower in Doha. This represents a significant milestone in therelationship between Australia and Qatar.

Thereare about five and a half thousand Australians who are currently living andworking here, and we feel sure that the two-way trade, economic, commercial andinvestment relationship has much potential, and with our presence here, willgrow substantially.

Thismorning I have had the honour of meeting with the QIA, the heads of the QatarInvestment Authority (QIA), with the Foreign Minister, and with the Ministerfor Economy and Commerce, and at each meeting we discussed the currentpartnership between Australia and Qatar and the potential that this relationshiphas. Two-way trade is currently worth about $1.75 billion, but given theenormous infrastructure build that we see here in Qatar, there are manyopportunities for Australian businesses to work here. Likewise, there hasbeen significant investment from Qatar in Australia, in agriculture,agri-businesses, commodities, and tourism related infrastructure and the like,so while there is already a deep level of investment, we see opportunities formore.

Wealso work together on some strategic issues, and have been partners in a numberof the coalitions designed to resolve conflicts in our region. So with manycommon interests and a number of shared values in terms of outcomes to regionalconflicts, I believe that there is much that we offer each other.

Wecertainly welcome Qataris to visit Australia. I believe that the complementaryseasons mean that we should see more Australians visiting Qatar, and moreQataris visiting Australia. We have much to offer each offer. Wesee this as part of Australia's expanding diplomatic footprint around theworld. This is our 101st post overseas. Yesterday in Marrakesh Iconfirmed that Australia would be opening its 102nd diplomatic post in Rabat,so our presence in this part of the world is important in the Middle East,North Africa. I see the embassy here in Doha as the beginning of a new era inrelations between this magnificent country and Australia.

Soit is with great pride and pleasure that I formally declare open Australia'snew embassy, our first embassy in Qatar, here in Doha.

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