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DOHA: The European Union opened an office in Qatar on Wednesday in a sign of the Gulf state's growing influence in solving the international energy crisis.

EU council president Charles Michel was to meet the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and other top officials in Doha later in the day.

Michel arrived from Algeria where he also discussed supplies of natural gas. Qatar is one of the world's top suppliers of liquefied natural gas and growing requests have been made by Germany and other European nations.

Investment proposal floated as Qatar declines deposit plea

Michel said his visit was "an important signal of our political will to strengthen ties with Qatar", as he opened the EU mission.

The EU wants closer ties on "the energy sector, economic development, security challenges", he told reporters.

Michel's talks with Qatari leaders were also to focus on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which led to the gas shortages now hitting Europe.

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