- Category: The Nation
- Published on Monday, October 25 2010 23:54
- Written by Rod Hughes
- Hits: 977
The Middle Eastern nation of Qatar will open an embassy in Costa Rica, the first Arab nation ever to do so. It will be only the fifth country in Latin America with which Qatar has formal diplomatic relations.
The oil-rich Mid Eastern country, with the highest GDP per capita in the world, is interested not in selling petroleum to Costa Rica but in investing in technology, science and economy. Costa Rica already buys its oil from Venezuela under a special agreement, although the regime of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the Chinchilla Administration have little in common politically.
Groundwork for diplomatic relations was laid during a visit to then-Costa Rican President Oscar Arias to New York in 2007. Later, Arias visited the Middle Eastern nation. But it was when Arias reciprocated the hospitality, hosting the Emir of Qatar in a resort in Guanacaste province, that talks got serious.
Arias, who won the Nobel Peace Prize through his adeptness at diplomacy (although his formal education is in economics), opened diplomatic relations with a number of countries during his 2006-10 term. This characteristic was so marked that Nestor Gonzalez, political cartoonist for The Tico Times, depicted him packing up to leave office early this year and asking a secretary, "Let's see..are there any countries left that we DON"T have diplomatic relations with?"