Singapore and Qatar: Strengthening Political and Economic Axis

Vladimir Putin: “The relations between Russia and Qatar are really special.”

The two countries decided to develop a 360-degree relationship, from energy to food security. Qatar intensifies relations with Greater Eurasia: On June 22, 2023, in the Kremlin, the Prime Minister of Qatar sent a special message to President Vladimir Putin from the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Singapore President Halima Jacob visited the State of Qatar where she was received by Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The two leaders signed five memorandums of understanding concerning, among other things, energy and food security, on which they discussed ways to strengthen cooperation. In addition, they exchanged views on regional and international events. The trip to Qatar was the last state visit abroad by Jacob who does not intend to run in Singapore’s next presidential election scheduled for September 13, 2023.

Jacob brought a large delegation to Qatar, consisting of high-ranking officials from the administration, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as the state Singapore Food Agency.

During her talks with Emir Hamad Al Thani, the Head of State of Singapore noted that “Singapore was able to learn a lot from the experience of Qatar, a country that had to overcome a period of dramatic regional and international upheavals, but has finally managed to obtain security guarantees, especially concerning the food supply of the country.”


Jacob’s statements recall the 2017 tensions, when some Arab countries, led by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt, severed diplomatic and trade relations with Qatar that was accused of terrorist activities and interference in the internal affairs of other Middle Eastern countries. A sea, land, and air blockade was imposed on Qatar. As a result, this Gulf nation suffered severe food shortages but was able to diversify its imports. The crisis ended two years ago – in January 2021, the countries agreed to restore relations.

Qatar is currently Singapore’s third-largest trading partner among all Middle Eastern countries, with bilateral trade amounting to $8.2 billion in 2022. For about twenty years, Singaporean companies and firms have actively participated in the implementation of projects for various strategic sectors in Qatar, starting from oil and gas production, waste management, drinking water production, urban development and ending with high technology.

Learning from the 2017 crisis, Qatar is strengthening relations both with its neighbors in the Arab world and with greater Eurasia.

On June 20, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahyan visited Doha, where he discussed the current situation and prospects for developing bilateral relations with Qatari leaders. Some fundamental international issues were considered as well. “Iran and Qatar, two neighboring states, have a very high potential for economic, commercial, and political development,” Amirabdollahyan said.

In November 2018 and in February 2023, the Emir of Qatar, Emir Hamad Al Thani, visited Italy, where he was received by the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella.

Finally, on June 22, during an official visit to Moscow, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdurrahman Al Thani was received in the Kremlin by Russian President Vladimir Putin, to whom he addressed a special message written by the Emir of Qatar.

In response, Putin expressed his best wishes to Emir of Qatar, recalling that “their meetings have always been held at the highest level, confirming the status of a special relations between the two states and the intention to develop them in many different areas.”