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Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, has arrived in Skopje for an official two-day visit accompanied by a business delegation which is expected to sign a number trade agreements.
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani | Photo by: kremlin.ru
The Emir’s visit is the first stop on his European tour which will take him to Albania, Poland and the Ukraine.
Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov, who invited the Arab leader to the country, said it would present opportunities for business arrangements.
“The visit is significant because it lays a foundation for the political dialogue to be resumed and represents a strong signal for intensifying overall cooperation, especially business ties,” Ivanov’s cabinet stated in a press release.
During his stay, several bilateral agreements in the field of culture, education, health and economy are scheduled to be signed, the Macedonian president said.
President Ivanov will also decorate the Emir of Qatar with a "September 8" Medal for his efforts in the affirmation of dialogue between civilizations and religions.
In 2003, Qatar provided financial and political support for the summit of South Eastern Europe heads of state entitled "Dialogue Among Civilizations", which was initiated by late Macedonian president Boris Trajkovski. Macedonia will once again host the summit in 2013.
On Tuesday, according to the official agenda, the Emir is scheduled to meet with Premier Nikola Gruevski and with Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanoski. He is also set to tour Skopje's landmarks among them, the Old Bazaar.
The Emir arrives in Skopje with a delegation of over 100 people, including two members of his family, 12 ministers, businessmen and journalists from his country.
The large delegation is going to put the protocol and infrastructure of the Macedonian capital to the test as they traverse the city streets. During Qatar Emir's visit, the citizens of Skopje will be faced with traffic restrictions. The main route from the airport to the Alexander the Great Hotel, where the Emir will stay in the presidential suite, will be temporarily closed.
During scheduled sightseeing excursions in Skopje, other routes in the downtown area will also be closed to traffic.
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