Qatar's emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, is to arrive on a two-day official visit in Moscow on Monday on the invitation of the Russian President. Vladimir Putin is scheduled to hold talks with Sheikh Hamad on Tuesday, December 25th. Moscow assigns priority to the first-ever official visit to Russia by Qatar's emir, Russian Foreign Ministry's official spokesman Alexander Yakovenko told RIA Novosti. Taking into account that Qatar is presiding over the Islamic Conference Organisation, the talks are to focus on the situation in the Middle East, in particular, around Palestine, and the Palestinian-Israeli settlement on the basis of the Mitchell-Tenet plan, Yakovenko said. Vladimir Putin and Sheikh Hamad will also discuss the situation in Iraq and cooperation on the success of the counter-terrorist operation in Afghanistan and the political settlement in this country. The talks will also focus on trade and economic and investment cooperation. The sides believe that trade and economic relations do not meet the level of political contacts. The foreign trade turnover between the two countries does not exceed $1 million a year. The emir is expected to settle the issues of interaction between the two country's chambers of commerce and industry during his visit to Moscow. According to RIA Novosti's data, Putin and Sheikh Hamad are to sign an agreement on mutual protection and encouragement of investments following the negotiations. Qatar boasts the world's third largest natural gas deposits after Russia and Iran. The diplomatic relations between Russia and Qatar were established in 1988. In 1989 the embassies opened in Moscow and Doha.
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