Prague, like many of its European counterparts, is seeking to secure its gas supply.
Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar announced that for the first time Doha would open its own embassy in the Czech Republic, during comments made in Prague.
The emir is due to meet Milo Zeman, the president of the Czech Republic, shortly before the European Political Community summit, and amid growing demand for energy diversification.
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing energy crisis, diplomatic relations with Qatar have attracted growing interest throughout Europe.
The country is the world’s leading exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), a raw material that allows Europe to reduce its dependence on Russian gas. Qatar also has the third largest oil and gas reserves in the world.
“As part of the EU summit at Prague Castle, His Majesty’s (Al Thani) visit is an opportunity to meet political representatives of EU countries, including the Czech Republic, in order to find solutions common to current major crises” spokesman for the Czech President said Jiri Ovcacek.
According to Hospodaske Noviny, the Emir has wanted to visit the Czech Republic for some time.
He will have the chance to meet leaders on the sidelines, but he will not be able to attend the summit itself, which brings together 44 European countries because Qatar is not considered an EU member.
Gas supplies from the Middle East are what European nations want, but Qatar is more interested in investment in Europe and potential visa-free access to EU nations.
An agreement between the governments of Qatar and the Czech Republic was approved last week by the Czech government.
The agreement is expected to be signed during the Emir’s visit, according to Industry and Trade Minister Jozef Skela.