Qatar summons German ambassador over ‘undiplomatic’ World Cup criticism

The German interior minister made what was described as ‘provocative’ comments against Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup ahead of a scheduled visit to the Gulf state.

Qatar summoned the German envoy to Doha on Friday after a top official made public criticism of the Gulf state’s hosting of the World Cup.

Qatar’s foreign ministry said it summoned Ambassador Dr. Claudius Fischbach and handed him an objection memo to express its “disappointment and complete rejection and condemnation of remarks made by the German Federal Minister of Interior Nancy Faeser on the State of Qatar’s hosting if the World Cup 2022,” a statement read.

The move came after Faeser slammed the Gulf state’s human rights record during an interview with a local German broadcaster ARD network ahead of her scheduled visit to Doha next week.

Faeser described Qatar’s hosting of the tournament as “very tricky” for the German government.

“There are criteria that must be adhered to and it would be better that tournaments are not awarded to such states,” she added.

In its statement on Friday, Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs demanded clarification for the remarks, which it described as “against diplomatic norms and conventions, especially in light of the distinguished ties between the State of Qatar and Germany in all fields.”

Qatar’s memo to the envoy also “expressed the State of Qatar’s complete rejection of those remarks made towards a country whose hosting of the World Cup was justice done to a region suffering from an unjust stereotype for decades,” the statement said.

Qatar has received a barrage of criticism for its track record in its treatment of migrant workers, with scrutiny exacerbating in recent weeks as the World Cup looms around the corner.

Despite this, Doha has introduced major reform to improve the conditions for workers in the country, with officials assuring such progress will continue long after the tournament ends.

Authorities in Doha on Friday “noted that the most prominent human rights groups and UN agencies praised the reforms implemented by the State of Qatar in the labour field, given they were effective and long-term, as well as being a result of years of planning and studies. “

Responding to the remarks on Friday, Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Majed bin Mohammed Al Ansari described the comments “as unacceptable and provocative for the Qatari people, stressing that it was unacceptable for politicians to try and score political points locally at the expense of their relations with other countries.”

Dr. Al Ansari echoed similar comments made by Qatari officials over the last few months which suggest Qatar has been “subjugated to an unprecedented campaign that no other host country has ever seen before.”

The official said the anti-Qatar campaign has continued and expanded to include slander and double standards.

“Qatar is currently preparing to be a hub for civilised communication and the promotion of understanding among world nations in a frame of mutual respect during the World Cup,” the statement added, citing Dr Al Ansari.

The latest developments come just days after Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani slammed what he described as “ferocious” attacks against Qatar since it won the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, saying “no other host nation” has faced this level of criticism.

“Since we won the honour of hosting the World Cup, Qatar has faced an unprecedented campaign that no other host nation has received. And we had handled it at first in good faith while considering some of the criticism positive and beneficial,” Sheikh Tamim told the Shura Council on Tuesday.

The Qatar ruler admitted that while the criticism has helped the country “develop aspects that needed development,” the campaign has expanded to include slander.

“It soon became clear to us that the campaign has continued and expanded, and includes slander and double standards until it has reached such a ferocity that many, unfortunately, wonder about the real reasons and motives behind it,” said Sheikh Tamim.

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