West News Wire: The World Cup will be held in Qatar between November 20 and December 18, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has denounced comments made by Germany’s interior minister regarding the event.
German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser questioned whether the Gulf nation should host the World Cup of football in an interview with the ARD network that aired on Thursday, saying: “There are criteria that must be followed to and it would be preferable that competitions are not handed to such states.”
A day later, Qatar summoned the German ambassador to express its displeasure with the remarks.
This is the first time that Qatar has summoned an ambassador from another country for such remarks.
Nayef al-Hajraf, the secretary-general of the GCC, supported Qatar on Saturday in a statement posted on the council’s website.
The six-member Gulf bloc backs Doha in “addressing any interference in its internal affairs by publishing allegations that do not serve the establishment of normal relations between the two countries”, he said.Tamim bin Hamad
“Qatar is heading towards making new successes, and hosting the 2022 World Cup is a source of deserved pride.”
The secretary-general also praised “the pioneering role” played by Qatar in building “communication and promoting understanding between nations in a framework of mutual respect”.
On Tuesday, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said his country has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign of criticism no host country has ever faced over the World Cup.
“We initially dealt with the matter in good faith, and even considered that some criticism was positive and useful, helping us to develop aspects of ours that need to be developed,” the emir told Qatar’s legislative council.
“But it soon became clear to us that the campaign continues, expands and includes fabrication and double standards, until it reached a level of ferocity that made many question, unfortunately, about the real reasons and motives behind this campaign.”
Qatar has come under the spotlight over its treatment of foreign labourers and human rights record since it earned the right to host world football’s biggest event.
The country has highlighted widespread reforms to its labour and industrial safety record in recent years that have been hailed by international labour unions.