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Archive for Qatar

Newsline: Qatar’s top diplomat became new prime minister

Qatar’s top diplomat was sworn in as the country’s prime minister on Tuesday, replacing another member of the ruling family who had held the post since 2020, state news reported. The Qatar News Agency says Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani was sworn in as the new head of government, without providing further details. (https://news.yahoo.com/qatars-top-diplomat-sworn-prime-095112734.html) Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, appoints the holders of top offices, usually from members of the ruling family. As in other Gulf Arab countries, politics is largely confined to the ruling family and developments are rarely aired in public. Sheikh Mohammed has served as foreign minister since 2016 and was the public face of Qatar as it navigated a 3 1/2-year economic boycott by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt that only came to an end in January 2021.

Newsline: U.S. State Department engaged with Qatari officials after death of soccer analyst

Soccer analyst Grant Wahl died in Qatar while covering a World Cup match between Argentina and the Netherlands on Friday, just days after his 48th birthday. Wahl’s wife, Dr. Celine Gounder, confirmed his death Friday night on Twitter, writing she was in “complete shock.” Ned Price, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said the government is “engaged with senior Qatari officials to see to it that his family’s wishes are fulfilled as expeditiously as possible.” “He received immediate emergency medical treatment on site, which continued as he was transferred by ambulance to Hamad General Hospital,” the World Cup organizing committee said in a statement, which did not list a cause of death. “We are in touch with the US Embassy and relevant local authorities to ensure the process of repatriating the body is in accordance with the family’s wishes.” (https://sports.yahoo.com/grant-wahl-soccer-journalist-dies-025833400.html) Wahl, a sports journalist for CBS Sports and author of the GrantWahl Substack column, had covered eight men’s World Cup tournaments. Although an official cause of death has not been shared, Wahl wrote that he had been suffering from a “severe” illness that required him to visit a medical clinic in Qatar.

Newsline: Qatar summons German ambassador

Qatar summoned the German envoy over remarks by Germany’s interior minister, who appeared to criticize the decision to award the World Cup to the Gulf Arab nation because of its human rights record. German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, who is also responsible for sports, plans to travel to Qatar on Monday and Tuesday with the government’s human rights commissioner, German lawmakers and a delegation from the German soccer federation. In an official statement issued on Friday, Faeser noted that “no World Cup takes place in a vacuum.” She added that with regard to future international sporting events, “we must ensure that their awarding and organization is tied to human rights standards.” Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said it summoned the ambassador to convey its “disappointment and complete rejection and condemnation” of Faeser’s remarks. (https://www.wdtn.com/sports/ap-sports/ap-qatar-summons-german-envoy-over-world-cup-rights-criticism/) It was the first time Qatar has summoned an ambassador following years of heavy international scrutiny of its treatment of migrant workers and criminalization of homosexual relations. With just weeks to go before the start of the soccer tournament, Qatari officials appear increasingly frustrated with such criticism, which they say is often unfounded and ignores progress on labor issues in recent years.

Newsline: Jordan Names Qatar Ambassador

Jordan appointed an ambassador to Qatar, in an apparent break from its benefactors in the Gulf who have imposed a boycott on the gas-rich nation. A royal decree appointed Zeid Al Louzi as the country’s ambassador to Qatar, according to the official Gazette. The move comes two years after Jordan reduced diplomatic representation following a Saudi-led campaign against Qatar. (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-16/jordan-names-qatar-ambassador-two-years-after-saudi-led-boycott) Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties and closed transport routes with Qatar in 2017, accusing it of funding terrorism. Qatar denies the charge.

Newsline: Man racially abused at UK’s Qatari Embassy awarded almost £190,000 in compensation

A security officer who was racially abused while working at Qatar’s embassy in Britain has been awarded almost £190,000 in compensation by a London employment tribunal. Mahamoud Ahmed, 79, was called a “black slave” and a “donkey” before being assaulted by the medical attaché at the diplomatic mission during an incident in 2013 and was subsequently sacked, the tribunal heard. (https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/man-racially-abused-at-uk-s-qatari-embassy-awarded-almost-190-000-in-compensation-1.876499) The tribunal ruled in March that Mr Ahmed, who had worked at the embassy in Mayfair on and off for almost 20 years, had been racially harassed and dismissed because of his race. At a remedy hearing on June 19, Judge Joanna Wade awarded Mr Ahmed a sum of £167,021.02 (Dh774,817.07) for loss of earnings, a personal injury claim, cost of medical treatment, aggravated damages and injury to feelings as well as £20,000 (Dh92,780) in costs, the absolute maximum an employment tribunal can award.

Newsline: Qatari embassy in London faces racial abuse claims

The son of a British former receptionist at the Qatari embassy in London is seeking crowdfunding to help the family with their discrimination case against the diplomatic mission. Somali-born Mohamoud Ahmad, in his late 70s, was employed at the Gulf state’s embassy in Mayfair for almost 20 years. He claimed he was referred to in Arabic as a “donkey” and a “dog” by the head of the embassy’s medical department Abdullah Al Ansari, according to British reports (https://gulfnews.com/world/gulf/qatar/qatar-uk-embassy-faces-racial-abuse-claims-1.62167690). Ahmad, from Kensington, has lived in England for more than 40 years, and claimed in 2014 unfair and wrongful dismissal, racial and age-based discrimination at a Central London employment court.

Newsline: Qatar sees no need to re-open embassy in Syria

Qatar’s foreign minister said on Monday that he saw no need to re-open an embassy in Damascus, nor any encouraging signs for a normalization of ties with the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani also said Qatar still objects to Arab League membership for Syria, which was suspended in 2011 over the government’s violent response to protests at the start of what turned out to be an almost eight-year-old war. Some Arab states, including ones that once backed rebels against Assad, are seeking to reconcile with him after decisive gains by his and allied forces in the war. Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry later denied reports it was reopening its embassy in Damascus. The United Arab Emirates re-opened its embassy there last month and Bahrain said its embassy, and the Syrian mission in Manama, had been operating “without interruption”.


Newsline: Qatari embassy accused of detaining Swaziland journalists

Staff at the Qatari embassy in Swaziland were accused of detaining two local journalists after they refused to sign an agreement not to publish a report about the acting ambassador. According to the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) NGO, the journalists were held for more than an hour at the Qatari embassy on October 5 as staff tried to prevent them from publishing an article about the diplomat’s alleged involvement in an assault. The two journalists, from the Times of Swaziland, were at the embassy to interview Qatar’s acting ambassador Yaqoub Al Mulla about an incident in which he allegedly pointed a firearm at a street vendor. Mr Al Mulla agreed to the interview but then tried to force the paper’s business editor Kwanele Dhladhla and investigative journalist Welcome Dlamini to sign the agreement, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.


Newsline: US to appoint Qatar ambassador amid Gulf row

The United States has said it would appoint an ambassador to Qatar, after a 16-month gap during which Doha has been at the centre of a regional diplomatic crisis. The White House announced that US President Donald Trump intends to nominate Mary Phee, who previously served as US ambassador to Sudan, after Dana Shell Smith resigned last year. Smith – who has criticised Trump’s handling of the State Department – stepped down from her post just days after the diplomatic crisis erupted between Qatar and its neighbours. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Doha on June 5, 2017 over allegations it seeks closer ties with Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival Iran and supports radical Islamist groups.


Newsline: Afghanistan’s Taliban sources confirm Qatar meeting with senior US diplomat

Taliban officials met secretly with a senior US diplomat in Qatar last week, sources in the group have told the BBC. The face-to-face talks in Doha with Alice Wells, a state department deputy assistant secretary, were “very important”, one Taliban official said. News of the meeting follows a directive from the Trump administration for US diplomats to talk directly with the Afghan militant group. The Taliban have long said that only with the US will they discuss peace. Direct talks with the militants, without Afghan officials present, marks a major turnaround in Washington’s policy as it seeks to end America’s longest war. It comes after an unprecedented three-day ceasefire during Eid celebrations in June that was largely respected by both sides. There have been attacks since, including one on army check points in Badghis province. The meeting was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Two senior Taliban sources confirmed it to the BBC’s Mahfouz Zubaide, in Kabul. They said a six-member delegation was led by Abbas Stanikzai, who heads the group’s political office in Doha.