‘Facilitator role’ at heart of Qatar’s foreign policy, emir says

‘Our foreign policy aims to bring together different points of view,’ Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani tells French news outlet Le Point.

Qatar's emir
Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani says he hopes visitors coming to the Gulf country for the World Cup 'will discover the culture of Qatar' and want to come back [File: Matt Dunham/Pool via Reuters]

Bringing together parties with opposing views is at the heart of Qatar’s foreign policy, the Qatari emir told French magazine Le Point in a wide-reaching interview published on Wednesday.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani told the news outlet that while Qatar may be “a small country, every country, big or small, has a role to play” in world affairs.

“Our foreign policy in Qatar aims to bring together different points of view, to help every party that needs it, and to play the role of facilitator in the region and elsewhere,” the emir said.

Qatar played a key role in United States-brokered peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban, hosting several rounds of talks in Doha, beginning during former US President Donald Trump’s administration.

The Gulf nation was also lauded for helping with evacuations from the Afghan capital, Kabul, when the US withdrew following the Taliban’s takeover of the country. More recently, Qatar in June hosted indirect talks between the US and Iran aimed at restoring the 2015 nuclear deal.

“Our country also plays an important role in the energy sector,” the Qatari emir said in Wednesday’s interview, published in French. “We ship our gas to numerous clients across the world, from Argentina to Japan.”

Asked if he agreed with European nations’ decision to sanction Russian energy over the war in Ukraine, the emir said he could not judge. “But we can’t help but see the problems that a lack of energy is creating in Europe right now,” he said.

“The most important thing is that we are all suffering from the situation, whether in terms of energy or food. That’s why we need to end this war in Ukraine. We need to find a solution.”

The emir was asked a wide range of questions, from how he would describe his relationship with French President Emmanuel Macron, to his views on religion and women’s rights, and plans for the upcoming FIFA World Cup that Qatar is hosting.

“We are the first Arab country to organise this type of world event. It’s very important for the youth, especially those in the Arab World,” Sheikh Tamim said about the World Cup, which is being held in November and December.

He said every visitor – no matter where they come from – will be welcome. “We hope that these visitors learn about different cultures, that they will discover the culture of Qatar, and we hope that they will want to come back.”

Source: Al Jazeera