Emir of Qatar meets Prince Charles on Britain visit

28th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

The emir of Qatar met Prince Charles on Wednesday on the second day of a state visit to Britain aimed at strengthening ties and boosting trade between the countries.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani held talks with Charles, the 61-year-old heir to the British throne, at his London residence Clarence House during the three-day trip.

The meeting followed recent controversy over links between the pair after it emerged that Charles lobbied the emir to change a major London building development plan, sparking accusations of abuse of power.

In Wednesday's talks, Charles and the 58-year-old emir agreed to look at the possibility of a collaboration between a sustainable development project set up by the prince and Qatari marine experts.

The project would examine marine ecosystem sustainability, particularly in the Gulf.

The emir, travelling with Sheikha Mozah, one of his three wives, also visited the stadium for the 2012 London Olympics and held discussions with officials on England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

Qatar is bidding to host the 2022 football World Cup.

Later Wednesday, the emir was guest of honour at a banquet hosted by the lord mayor of London, Nicholas Anstee, who praised Qatar's financial ties with Britain.

Anstee hailed "the contribution being made by Qatari Diar [the Qatari state's real estate investment arm] to improving London's landscape."

The oil- and gas-rich Gulf emirate has a growing influence in Britain, having acquired the landmark Harrods department store in London in May for a reported 1.5 billion pounds (2.4 billion dollars, 1.7 billion euros).

Qatar also has a 6.8 percent stake in British banking giant Barclays and a 25.9 percent share in the Sainsbury's supermarket chain.

The emir and his wife also visited Westminster Abbey and took a tour of the ancient place of worship.

The emir flew in to Britain Tuesday and was greeted by Queen Elizabeth II before travelling in a horse-drawn carriage to Windsor Castle, where a lavish state banquet was laid on.

© 2010 AFP

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