HE Speaker of the Shura Council Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanem participated in the opening of the 143rd General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), in the attendance of HM King Felipe VI of Spain.
During the opening ceremony, HM the Spanish King gave speech in which he welcomed the participating delegations and expressed his condolences on the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, and paid tribute to Parliamentarians who fell victims to the pandemic.
The Spanish King expressed his pride and appreciation for the parliamentary efforts made by the members of the IPU in the service of their countries and peoples, saying he looks forward to developing more ties of friendship between parliamentarians with the aim of promoting peace among peoples, stressing the need to work on developing cooperation between the Inter-Parliamentary Union and international organizations For the benefit of peoples and countries.
During the ceremony, a recorded speech of HE the Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres was played, during which he welcomed the participants, wishing that their meetings and discussions would produce positive results that would benefit the peoples, and contribute to strengthening efforts aimed at promoting democracy, equality and achieving development at all levels.
HE President of the Spanish Congress of Deputies President of the Congress of Deputies and HE President of the Spanish Senate Ander Gil Garcia also gave two speeches in which they welcomed the participating delegations and highlighted the importance of this session and its topics dedicated to democracy, sustainable development, equality, and protecting human rights. They expressed their hope that the discussions will help serve the peoples. They also stressed the importance of supporting countries that are struggling with the impact of the spread of COVID-19, highlighting the importance of addressing wealth inequality and women's conditions, as well as enhancing ties between parliaments worldwide.
For his part, HE President of the IPU Duarte Pacheco discussed a host of issues related to the impact of the COVID-19 spread and the implications it has on human rights and women's rights in particular. He expressed his hope that the meeting will be a positive step towards overcoming those challenges.
On the sidelines of the meeting, HM King Felipe VI of Spain met HE Speaker of the Shura Council Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanem and the speakers of parliaments participating in the general assembly.
The meeting, held under the theme "Contemporary challenges to democracy: Overcoming division and building community," will include all of IPU's bodies. This includes the Governing Council, permanent committees, the Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights, Committee on Middle East Questions, the Forum of Women Parliamentarians, and the Forum of Young Parliamentarians.
The opening ceremony was attended by HE Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the Kingdom of Spain Abdullah bin Ibrahim Al Hamar, member of the Shura Council and Rapporteur of the Internal and External Affairs Committee Ali bin Fetais Al Marri, Mohammed bin Mahdi Al Ahbabi, Ahmed bin Hitmi Al Hitmi, Mohammed bin Omar Al Mannai, and HE Secretary-General of the council Ahmed bin Nasser Al Fadhala.