Nepali workers face no problems in Qatar: Qatari envoy
The State of Qatar is now in the global diplomatic limelight after over half-a-dozen nations, including its four neighbours, severed diplomatic ties with it. These nations have accused the rich Gulf state of funding ‘terrorism,’ which the latter dismisses as hogwash. According to media reports, the blockade by four countries has begun to strain its economy. Qatar, a key global labour market, has been providing work to hundreds of thousands of workers from different parts of the world. With Qatar facing one of the worst diplomatic crises, the number of Nepali workers going there has reportedly gone down.
Against this backdrop, Ritu Raj Subedi of The Rising Nepal talked to Qatari Ambassador to Nepal Yousuf Bin Mohammed Al-Hail on an array of current topics. Yousuf Bin Mohammed Al-Hail, who was appointed to the ambassadorial post here in November 2016, says that Qatar is not affected by the siege of the four countries. Dismissing their accusation as a fabricated lie, he argues that Qatar is among the active nations in the fight against terrorism and a vigorous member in all international arenas and regional forums. Excerpts:
Could you shed light on how the current situation evolved in Qatar?
Qatar is enjoying an excellent position and will not be affected by the siege of the four countries, and within a short time, Qatar has been able to provide all basic needs - natural drinking water and others needs - for its citizens and residents. This siege led to the solidarity of all Qatari societies with HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar.
How do you respond to the accusations of the countries that have severed diplomatic relations with your nation?
The crisis began with a lie fabricated by the countries of the blockade by hacking the Qatar News Agency website, followed by a fierce and aggressive media campaign against Qatar and its leadership. Qatar is among the active nations in the fight against terrorism and a vigorous member in all international arenas and regional forums.
The presence of a US military base in Al Udeid, Qatar, basically seeks to combat terrorism and extremism. Qatar is ready to sit at the negotiating table. The besieged countries have failed to present any tangible and objective evidence, which proves that their assumptions and allegations are baseless.
Is there any geopolitical factor behind this nasty development?
Qatar is a sovereign country and has a vision and ambition of its own. Qatar cannot accept any prescriptions and dictates imposed on it or follow the policies of another country. The State of Qatar does not interfere in the affairs and policies of another country.
How is your nation tackling the embargo and its repercussions for the region?
To sit at the table of dialogue and give an opportunity to the initiative led by HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Amir of the State of Kuwait, and other friendly countries to resolve differences through dialogue.
Qatar is one of the major job destinations for Nepalese workers. What is Qatar doing to provide security to the Nepalese workers there?
Nepalese workers and all workers from other nationalities have been provided all basic needs and other necessities by the State of Qatar. Qatar Airways continues to operate regularly between Doha and Kathmandu. The State of Qatar recently issued new labour laws to safeguard and protect the rights of workers. All projects in Qatar, especially the ones related to the World Cup 2022, are going on smoothly according to the strategies set and will be completed without delay.
As news report go by, the number of Nepalese going to Qatar for work has gone down sharply. How can you assure them that Qatar is safe for them?
Firstly, we need to shed light on the problem faced by Nepalese workers on personal sponsorship (domestic helpers). No permit has been issued to those workers who have been suspended from getting travel permits and prevented from traveling by Nepalese authorities.
The workers of companies continue to leave for Qatar, and there is no problem with them.
There is communication with the Ambassador of Nepal to the State of Qatar, and he has informed that there are no problems facing the Nepalese workers at the moment, and that the situation there is normal.
- Qatar Vision 2030 is going well. Even after the World Cup concludes, Qatar will continue the process of building and development, and there are long-term development plans and strategies to exploit gas and oil revenues in building projects.
The State of Qatar has built up labour cities for workers, providing all the needs with comfortable services, activities, shopping centres, and cinema.
How do you assess the contribution of Nepalese workers to the Qatari economy?
Nepali workers enjoy a high reputation in the Qatari community, and they have obviously contributed to the comprehensive development renaissance taking place in the State of Qatar, especially in the field of construction, including Hamad International Airport, which was built by the hands of Nepalese workers.
Qatar and the Qatari people respect the Nepalese workers, and Nepalese workers, in return, have won the trust of the government and Qatari people with care and attention.
Let’s change the topic. Would you highlight the bilateral relations between Nepal and Qatar and areas of cooperation between them?
Relations between the two countries are constantly developing, and there is cooperation at the level of international organisations. There is cooperation at the highest level.
Qatar is rich country while Nepal possesses a huge potential for investment from the state and private sector. What is the prospect of Qatari investment in Nepal?
Qatar is interested in investing in Nepal, especially in the field of hydropower. However, before this investment, it is necessary to sign some agreements, such as the protection of mutual investments and freedom of transfer of capital.
Do you have anything to add?
During my tenure in Nepal, I hope to do something more for the Republic of Nepal and the friendly Nepalese people, who deserve all respect and appreciation because they are a great people.
Jong Youb Kim is the Executive Director of Korean Environment Corporation (K-eco), Chungcheong Region in the Republic of Korea (RoK). A university graduate...