Difficult visit for Schultz: Emir of Qatar brings gas and demands respect

Challenging visit to Schulze
Emir of Qatar brings gas and demands respect

Since Germany wanted to dispense with Russian gas as quickly as possible, Qatar rose to become one of the most important partner countries. Now the prince is visiting the Federal Chancellor. He has to answer uncomfortable questions about the upcoming World Cup.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is currently a sought-after man in Germany. With Qatar, the emir rules a country that had an important resource during Russia’s war of aggression: liquefied natural gas (LNG). Qatar is one of the world’s largest LNG exporters, but so far it has delivered mainly to Asia. That is set to change: the federal government has now struck an energy partnership with the Gulf state in order to reduce dependence on Russian gas. His visit to Germany was not only about energy, but also about football. The emirate will host the World Cup next winter – which is not only controversy among the fans. It’s about gay rights and workers who built stadiums, for example.

According to Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, we welcome all guests – regardless of their sexual orientation. “We do not prevent anyone from coming to Doha,” the prince said after meeting with Chancellor Olaf Schultz in response to a question. But we expect and want people to respect our culture.” In Qatar, homosexuality is illegal and punishable by imprisonment. There are already calls to refrain from displaying rainbow flags at the World Cup.

Schulz: “There’s always room for improvement”

Asked if it would be appropriate, Schulz explained, the German team will participate. Many people from Germany travel to Qatar as well. “However, this is the issue that we discussed of course and we are still discussing issues related to human rights and civil rights.” This has now been done “very extensively” on the issue of employee rights. Qatar has been accused of exploiting foreign workers to build World Cup facilities, which the government denies.

Schulz said changes such as the introduction of a minimum wage and new legal regulations have improved conditions for workers. “As an employment attorney by profession, I can say: There is always room for improvement,” Schultz added. He will not forget that the real driving force behind his political and social commitment was his commitment to the employees. This applies even more to all other issues of civil and human rights.”

HABIC acquires energy partnership

The two responsible ministers, Robert Habek and Saad Sherida Al Kaabi, took care of the energy partnership. Both signed letters of intent for deeper cooperation. The Ministry of Economic Affairs announced that the energy partnership will help Germany diversify its gas supplies by importing liquefied natural gas from Qatar, and at the same time will enhance cooperation in the field of “green hydrogen”. Because of the war in Ukraine, Germany wants to become independent of Russian gas and depend on shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG). So Habek had already visited Qatar in March.

She said the German-Qatari energy partnership should promote a “high-level exchange” between the two governments on energy-related issues, build bridges between the two countries and bring together public and private actors. Regular meetings are scheduled between the Qatari Ministry of Energy and the Federal Ministry of Economy and Climate Protection. Two working groups should pay attention to detail.

Qatar is also an important mediator for the West in dealing with Afghanistan. When the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan again last summer, the emirate also helped evacuate foreigners and local Afghan workers. At the time, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier thanked Sheikh Tamim for his support. The prince, despite his moderate behavior, is a controversial figure. For example, he is said to have links to the Islamic Brotherhood.

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