FM hails deep-rooted ties between Qatar, Germany
June 01 2014 11:44 PM

HE Dr al-Attiyah with Steinmeier at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters yesterday.

By Ayman Adly/Staff Reporter

Qatar welcomes anybody who wants to take a look at its huge infrastructure project sites to see the safety standards in place and the way workers are treated, HE the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah observed yesterday.
He was speaking at a joint press conference with Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, who is currently visiting Qatar with a delegation from his country.
HE Dr al-Attiyah described Qatar-Germany relations as deeply rooted since their commencement in 1973. The ties are based on mutual respect and a constructive relationship in dealing with regional and international issues towards international peace and security.
“Qatar has considerable participation in the German economy and it is considered the largest Arab investor in Germany with investments amounting to EUR18bn,” said Dr al-Attiyah.
He pointed out that German-Qatari relations have developed significantly in various other fields besides economy, such as education, culture and science and technology.
“Recently, the creation of the first research centre at Qatar Science & Technology Park was announced. It pertains to German companies Bosch and Volkswagen, with the primary interest being in conducting applied research in the vehicle development industry,” he stressed.
Further, Dr al-Attiyah said the two parties discussed various issues of common interest in the region, with the peace process in the Middle East and Syria being on top of the agenda.
On Qatar’s mediation in getting US soldier Sgt Bowe Bergdahl released - who had been held in Afghanistan for nearly five years - in exchange for five Taliban detainees at Guantanamo Bay, he stressed that “when it comes to humanitarian issues, HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani hurries to offer support and this is what has happened. Based on this, the Qatari team exerted great efforts in the mediation”.
Meanwhile, Steinmeier stressed that Qatar has witnessed great development and its economy is growing steadily. “A good number of German companies have been working in Qatar for more than 20 years, while some are just three years old, and many are interested in the economic development and investment opportunities here,” he added.
Steinmeier said he discussed the issue of expatriate workers with Dr al-Attiyah openly. “Major sports events have various consequences, it is not like what it was in the past, and public opinion is observing the work conditions and political consequences here. Any allegation of violations against workers is being treated by the Qatari authorities and those who write about what is happening here in Qatar should come and see for themselves first,” he elaborated.
Dr al-Attiyah said Qatar is building a modern country and has a vision beyond the 2022 FIFA World Cup, extending to 2030. “This demands more efforts and we thank all the countries that are taking part with us in this process by sending their workforce.”
“We are serious about fixing mistakes and this is what we have already done by hiring an international consultant to study what could be done to improve worker-employer relations. We have taken measures prior to this to improve the situation and the soon-to-be-issued amended law will lead to further improvements,” stressed Dr al-Attiyah.
Steinmeier expressed concern that the conflict in Syria has to be addressed decisively so that its consequences do not spread across the region. He said neighbouring countries, particularly Jordan and Lebanon, should be offered more support because of the increasing number of Syrian refugees they have to deal with.

Emir to visit  Germany in September

HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will pay an official visit to Germany in September, German Federal Foreign Minister Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced in Doha yesterday.
Addressing a joint press conference with HE the Foreign Minister Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah, the German foreign minister said that during his talks with the Emir yesterday, he felt the Qatari leadership’s keenness to move forward on the path of progress and development.

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