Qatar is a country which is open and welcoming to all nationalities, including blockading countries, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker said and noted that his recent remarks on Egyptians were “taken out of context by the media”.
“As a passionate Qatari, I spoke with emotion at the media event (in Doha) last week. And my comments on Egyptians were really taken out of context by the media. Qatar is a country, which is open to all nationalities including the blockading countries. You know we have people from blockading countries that visit our country,” al-Baker said in reply to a question by Gulf Times at the airline’s media event at Mondrian Doha last night.
Al-Baker said, “We have many hundreds of Egyptians working at Qatar Airways. And some of my senior management is Egyptian. We have a very large diaspora of Egyptians in my country. And they are respected.”
The Qatar Airways Group chief executive said, “I said at the same press conference that our hands of friendship are always extended. His Highness the Amir in an interview on 60 Minutes in CBS in 2017 had said that if they come towards us one metre, we will go 1,000km towards them.”
Al-Baker said, “We are ready to reconciliation on one condition that our dignity, sovereignty and respect is always upheld by anybody around the world.”
“I know that when somebody speaks with emotion, the press very quickly make a very big issue out of that. As far as my remarks on Egyptians are concerned, you can see that it was really not meant literally the way it was translated.
“Sometimes as a Qatari, especially at this time of the year, it gives us very sour memories of what has happened previously,” al-Baker said referring to the blockade imposed on Qatar by a quartet of Arab countries in June 2017.
Qatar Airways Group chief executive HE Akbar al-Baker and other dignitaries at the media event hosted by the airline yesterday in Doha. PICTURE: Nasar K Moidheen