Conference on Mideast economic future today

Doha: The international conference entitled ‘Enriching the Middle East's Economic Future’, dealing with a host of economic and energy issues in the region, opens at the Ritz Carlton this morning.

The conference, co-sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UCLA Ronald W Burkle Center for International Relations, will focus on key economic issues in the region, including energy security, Asia's emerging role in the petroleum market, and the Middle East's impact on the global marketplace.

“The economic and regional stability of the Middle East is of vital importance to the entire world community, and as events in this region are rapidly progressing, it is important that the concerned parties from around the world join together in a dialogue focused on tackling challenges and employing solutions," said former US President Bill Clinton.

Bill Clinton and H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, who will address the morning session, are among the high-ranking international leaders from the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East who will speak at the three-day conference.

“The government of Qatar is pleased to host this group of international leaders who are interested in discussing critical issues of importance to the nations and states of this vital area of the world", said Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim. Steven L Spiegel, UCLA political scientist and Conference Chair for the Burkle Center, said the conference will explore the ways that region can better utilise oil revenues. "Economic progress can lead to social and political benefits, the advancement of democratisation, and to lessening of conflict and hostility region-wide," he said.