Qatar emir cuts 2-day state visit to 4 hours

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02:50 AM April 11th, 2012

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Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani. AP

The Emir of Qatar cut short his two-day state visit in the country  after spending four hours in Manila and left for home Tuesday night, Malacañang said.

Shiek Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani left for Qatar after he attended the state banquet given to him by President Benigno Aquino III in Malacañang.

“We were advised beforehand by the Qatari ambassador that the Emir had to attend to an urgent meeting back home, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a text message to reporters.

But Valte said that some members of the Emir’s delegation, which included Qatar’s foreign minister, were still in the country.

In a phone interview, Valte said  the Emir had just come from a visit to India before arriving in Manila on Tuesday.

He arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 on board a chartered flight around 5 p.m.

But he and his party left around 9 p.m., according to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) media affairs division.

The Emir was originally scheduled to leave Wednesday, it added.

Vice President Jejomar Binay was also scheduled to meet the Emir for a courtesy call around 10 a. m. on Wednesday at the Makati Shangri-La, but this was also cancelled.

The two-day state visit was supposed to  include a meeting with President Aquino  and key Cabinet members.

Sought for comment, Raul Hernandez, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, said  the visit was successful.

“The bilateral meeting between the President and the Emir covered all the topics in the agenda, with a lot of focus on strengthening trade and economic cooperation,” Hernandez said.

“Agreements were signed on tourism, legal cooperation and agri/fisheries, apart from one with the PCCI-Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry cooperation. There was also a Memorandum of Understanding between the  Board of Investments  and Qatar Holdings LLC to study cooperation in investments,” he added.

Originally posted: 10:57 pm | Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

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