Qatar sees dialogue as the only tool to resolve conflicts and disputes, the country’s ambassador to Germany Sheikh Saud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani has said.
In an interview published by Diplomatisches Magazin, a German diplomatic magazine, the ambassador said dialogue is the guideline on which Qatar has always relied, both in its foreign policy relations with its neighbours and other countries, or in its role as mediator between conflicting parties.
“Iran, for example, is a neighbouring country, and therefore we cannot ignore its presence and need to maintain an open channel for dialogue and negotiations to resolve any differences whether with Iran or other countries.”
The ambassador added that His Highness the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani created a vision based on the leadership of the youth, noting that his wise step in handing over the leadership of the State to the younger generation was a milestone in the memory of the Arabs not on the Qataris.
“This courageous step came from a leader who was at the peak of his leadership and reached the maximum of his national achievements, in guiding the young, to be qualified for governing and administering affairs for the coming ten consecutive years,” HE Sheikh Saud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said.
The ambassador said His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani affirmed that “changing leadership in Qatar does not mean that the challenges and tasks have changed for the state.”
This was translated on the ground by continuing the process of building the State’s institutions, which began during the reign of the Father Emir, he added.
After solidifying the approach of the Father Emir, the Emir renewed the spirit of the State and its institutions, continuing with the reforming process, solidifying the positives, and working to avoid the negatives, according to the national vision that cherishes human development, the ambassador said.
The ambassador added that the Emir adopted a consistent political plan, based on the principles and values that govern national policy in dealing with regional and international issues.
During the Arab Spring, he said, Qatar was always biased towards the need of its people, a good model to follow which promotes justice, human dignity and freedom.
Qatar is moving towards the first parliamentary elections of the Advisory Council, where the Qatari women play an important role in the current council.
Even before preparing the locations for the World Cup, the Qatar National Vision 2030 project recognised the need for improved living and working conditions for expatriate workers, the ambassador revealed.
The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs has launched a new and comprehensive programme to improve workers’ accommodation by constructing modern housing for these workers in line with international standards, he added.
“The construction of most of the workers’ housing is completed and is distributed in different parts of the country and can accommodate more than 340,000 workers,” the ambassador said.
Qatar’s government has also expanded its health facilities by establishing three modern hospitals and four new health centres for migrant workers.
In addition, a new contract system and a secure payment system have been introduced to ease the payment of salaries to employees through bank transfers, Sheikh Saud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said.
The ambassador added that the Qatari government has worked closely with non-governmental organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to formulate good practices in labour market policies and committed to applying the highest standards for migrant workers in the region.
Qatar has spared no effort to establish freedom of expression, based on its deep belief in the right of people to obtain reliable information from reliable sources. “Within this context I can refer to, Al Jazeera to be one of the most dedicated media networks in establishing the right of expression, which is translated in the death of a number of its reporters while carrying out their professional tasks”.
Sheikh Saud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said there are expatriates from 190 countries who live in Qatar with different religions, noting that “the State of Qatar welcomes religious diversity and everyone can practice their religious rights without restrictions or obstacles.”
Qatar holds relationships with many partners, recognising the importance of diversifying its relations and partnerships with various parties, the ambassador said.
Sheikh Saud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani underlined that economic relations with Europe, especially Germany, play a pivotal role in deepening and strengthening relations in various fields of investment, education, health, industry, and tourism.
He noted that the events of Qatar-Germany Cultural Year 2017 resulted in enhancing the strategic and strong ties with the German government and its people.
He added that the events of the cultural year created a harmonious relationship between the Arab and German cultures, which was deepened even more through the establishment of the Arabic Cultural House (The Diwan) in Berlin.
The ambassador pointed out that each country’s knowledge of the other’s culture, traditions and customs contributes to the subsequent abandonment of stereotyping of the other, thus creating a platform for dialogue between non-opposites.
He stressed that achieving progress and development in any field is a continuous and long-term process.
“I would like to point out that Qatar was ranked first in the Arab world and fourth worldwide out of 140 points to be achieved on the ranking of the Quality of Education report in 2016 issued by the World Economic Forum,” Sheikh Saud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said.
“It is important to note here that the State of Qatar allocates 3.2% of its gross national product and more than 12% of its public expenditure on education. This is in line with its 2030 National Vision the preparation for the post-oil era and the establishment of an appropriate academic and industrial infrastructure for the development of the knowledge-based economy,” he added.
The ambassador noted that Qatar’s preparations for hosting the 2022 World Cup are proceeding according to the plan that was set since winning the 2022 World Cup bid, adding that five stadiums have been completed and the State is actively working to complete the remaining three stadiums.
He pointed out that Qatar Railways Company (Qatar Rail) has already laid the tunnel’s infrastructure and a significant part of the construction of the train stations will be operational by 2020.
He declared that the commitment by Qatar to complete the infrastructure in preparation for the 2022 World Cup will be an exceptional opportunity to stimulate the development process and capacity-building and to foster a culture of innovation and creativity in our region.
“Over the past six years, we have already made significant achievements in this area, as three of the leading regional initiatives have made a positive impact in the region, from Josoor Institute, which so far has trained hundreds of people in the region, to the hosting of major sporting events,” the ambassador said.
“Through the social responsibility programme Generation Amazing, we have been able to contribute to positive change in the lives of thousands of children in countries around the world such as Nepal, Pakistan, Lebanon and Jordan by investing the positive energy of football and developing and refining the leadership skills of the participants” he added.
Sheikh Saud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani noted that the 2022 challenge opened up the opportunity to expand the creative skills of the Arab world to meet the challenges facing the 2022 World Cup and other major sporting events around the world.
He pointed out that the winners presented great ideas for the current products, and in a group of incubators in Qatar, applications are being developed that will give them the opportunity to realise their projects and solutions which the world will witness in 2022.
HE the ambassador pointed out that Qatar is one of the safest places in the world. In this regard “tourists will never feel alien due to the friendly and welcoming nature of its people and its well-developed infrastructure.”
Sheikh Saud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani