Qatar Emir on two-day state visit to Singapore

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani during a welcoming ceremony at the Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Oct 16, 2017.
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani during a welcoming ceremony at the Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Oct 16, 2017.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SINGAPORE - Qatar's Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani arrives in Singapore today (Oct 16) for a two-day state visit that marks two historic firsts.

It is the first state visit to Singapore by the Emir, who assumed the position in 2013. It is also the first visit by a foreign head of state that President Halimah Yacob is hosting, since her election last month.

Tomorrow (Oct 17), Sheikh Tamim will receive a ceremonial welcome in the morning at the Istana, after which he will call on Madam Halimah, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement yesterday.

He will then meet with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and the two leaders will witness the signing of several Memoranda of Understanding and agreements to boost cooperation in the legal, business, education and training sectors, among others.

Mr Lee will host the Emir to lunch.

In the evening, Madam Halimah will hold a state banquet in the Emir's honour.

Sheikh Tamim is accompanied on the visit by his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani; Chief of Royal Court, Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdul Aziz al-Thani; Minister of Economy and Trade, Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim al-Thani; Minister of Culture and Sports, Salah bin Ghanem al-Ali, and other senior Qatari officials.

Also joining him is a 52-member business delegation, which includes representatives from Qatar Development Bank, Qatar Airways, Qatari Diar and Hassad Food Company.

In the afternoon, the Qatari business delegation will meet their Singapore counterparts at the Qatar-Singapore Economic Forum, held at the Shangri-La Hotel. Co-organised by the Singapore Business Federation and the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the forum aims to promote stronger economic linkages between the two countries.

Qatar is Singapore's third largest trading partner in the Middle East, after the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Sheikh Tamim is in town as part of a tour of the region. He arrived in Singapore after a visit to Malaysia, and will begin a visit to Indonesia on Wednesday (Oct 18).

This is the third state visit to Singapore by an Emir of Qatar, after visits in 2005 and 2009.