Doha - Croatia wants to attract Qatari investments, notably in energy and tourism, and Croatian construction companies have been invited to intensify their presence in Qatar, Croatian Parliament Speaker Josip Leko and the Qatari emir said in Doha on Wednesday.
On the first day of his official visit, Leko met with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and the Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed bin Mubarak Al Khulaifi. The officials underlined the wish to intensify economic, political and parliamentary cooperation between the two countries.
"Although we are a member of the European Union, we are not neglecting Croatian interests and friends outside that region," Leko said, adding that Croatia was interested in Qatari investments, notably in energy and tourism. He was accompanied by executives of the food companies Podravka and Vindija, the construction company Zagreb Montaža and the AKD security printing agency.
The emir welcomed the arrival of Croatian companies in Qatar, saying the construction companies doing business there had a good reputation. He tasked the ambassador to Croatia with examining investment possibilities and arranging a visit by a Qatari business delegation. Al Thani praised Croatia's tourism potential, having visited twice. He was handed and accepted an invitation by Croatian President Ivo Josipović to visit.
The coexistence of religions in Croatia can be an example to the whole world, he said, while Leko underlined that the Croatian parliament recognised Islam as an equal religion way back in 1916 as well as that Muslims were well-integrated into Croatian society.
The officials expressed concern about the situation in the Middle East. People should be entitled to exercise their rights, Al Thani said, adding that Qatar was for a political solution and reforms because reforms were better than revolutions.
Leko and Al Khulaifi discussed inter-parliamentary cooperation and the construction sector. Al Khulaifi was hopeful that Leko's visit would motivate Croatian construction companies to become more involved in Qatar, notably in building infrastructure. Leko suggested setting up inter-parliamentary friendship groups, saying Croatia was very good for investing because of its location, notably the connection between its seaports and Central and East Europe.
He invited Al Khulaifi to visit the Croatian Parliament.