San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Qatar to Open Embassy in San José

The oil-rich nation of Qatar, which boasts one of the highest GDPs per capita in the world, has announced plans to open an embassy in San José, Costa Rica.

The embassy would be Qatar’s only diplomatic office on the Central American isthmus and one of five in the Americas. It would also be the only Arab embassy in Costa Rica.

The groundwork for diplomatic relations was laid in the Oscar Arias administration, during an exchange in New York in Sept. 2007 and a later visit by Arias to the Middle Eastern country. Arias’s visit was reciprocated in January when the Emir of Qatar visited the northwestern province of Guanacaste. During that meeting, representatives from both countries discussed investments from Qatar in fields such as technology, science and the economy.

The opening of an embassy was announced during Foreign Minister René Castro’s visit to Qatar’s capital city Doha this week. According to a statement from the Foreign Ministry, the embassy “would strengthen reciprocal cooperation and accelerate the realization of agreements in specific areas where both countries share mutual interests.”

Castro was in town for the opening of a Costa Rican embassy in Doha.

During the visit, local authorities expressed interest in an academic exchange, financed by Qatar, through which academics, researchers, investors and business owners could collaborate. Two conferences, one in Doha and the other in San José, are planned for 2011. There was also discussion about alternative energy development and climate change goals.

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