Qatar - Work is under way to launch a smart application that will allow Qatari citizens to get an online travel authorisation - quickly and easily - to enter the United Kingdom after uploading the necessary documents and information, UK ambassador to Qatar Jon Wilks has said.
Addressing the local media Sunday, he said the app is expected to be launched in October unless any potential technical issues delay the process. He stressed that Qataris will be the first to be given access to the app among GCC citizens.
Using the app, Qatari citizens can get a UK entry permit valid for two years within minutes after providing the necessary documents from the place of their convenience, he explained.
The UK had recently announced the rollout of an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme, with Qataris the first to use it from later this year. Earlier, it was announced that Qataris travelling to the UK would be exempted from the visa requirement from 2023.
"The new system will make the process more speedy, flexible and convenient and the entry permit could be issued within five minutes, valid for two years with multiple entries, and there is no need to come to the embassy," he noted.
The ambassador also briefed the media on the main features of the coronation of King Charles III, set to take place on May 6 at Westminster Abbey in London, where the celebrations and public festivities will go on until Monday.
He said King Charles III has been keen to include various sections of the British people and represent their diversity at the ceremony, including leaders of various religions, denominations and communities living in UK. There will also be a historic representation of the different ancient cultures in the UK, where Gaelic, Welsh and English languages and music will be featured.
He pointed out that for the first time in history of such occasions in the UK, some 200 international representatives of different countries are expected to take part in the coronation ceremony in addition to a number of heads of states and governments. Qatar is also set to take part in the ceremony.
"This is the first time we have made it a very big international event. There will be also modern themes and festivities with contemporary music and focus on youth issues and key topics such as sustainability, diversity and tolerance, which the King himself wanted to be highlighted," said the ambassador.
Meanwhile, the UK embassy in Qatar will organise various festivities such as a special performance by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra playing themes from coronation music on Saturday. Four hotels are also featuring special ceremonies and thousands of tickets for these have been sold out, in addition to other public celebrations.
He stressed that King Charles III has had a special interest in the GCC region since he was the Prince of Wales, and had visited the region then and could come again in the future. He is highly interested in further developing strategic relations and partnerships with different countries of the region.
Regarding the growing Qatar-UK ties and economic co-operation after Brexit, he stressed this has sped up the development of such relations and cleared the way to attain unprecedented levels of co-operation between the two friendly countries. He expected the UK to import more LNG from Qatar as there are growing trends to go for cleaner energy and co-operate with regard to different sources of renewable and clean energy.
He said the International Horticultural Expo 2023 Doha will be a good opportunity for the UK to share its experiences in gardening, but the details of this are yet to be worked out among the entities concerned. Further, after the launch of the Qatar-UK Strategic Dialogue, follow-up efforts are still going on to further enhance talks.
Regarding the Afghan issue, the ambassador noted that the UK is highly interested in stabilising the situation there and there is constant co-ordination with the Qatari side.
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