Qatar summons German ambassador over interior minister’s World Cup remarks

Claudius Fischbach, Germany's ambassador to Qatar, stands in the reception building at Doha Airport on the sidelines of a three-day visit to the Persian Gulf by Economics and Climate Protection Minister Habeck in March 2022.
CNN  — 

Qatar’s Foreign Ministry summoned the German ambassador Claudius Fischbach on Friday following the recent comments made by interior minister Nancy Faeser regarding the Gulf state’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup.

A statement from Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said that Fischbach had been handed an objection memo, expressing the Gulf nation’s disappointment as well as complete rejection and condemnation of remarks made by German Federal Minister of Interior Faeser.

During an interview on Thursday with CNN’s German affiliate ARD, Faeser emphasized that the awarding of major sporting events such as the upcoming World Cup should be linked to criteria, “namely, compliance with human rights and principles of sustainability.”

Faeser also said she wanted to hear civil society’s opinion on whether progress had been made, ARD reported.

Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also demanded clarification for these remarks, it added.

“The remarks made by the minister ahead of her official visit to Doha next week were against diplomatic norms and conventions, especially in light of the distinguished ties between the State of Qatar and Germany in all fields,” the statement said.

The 2022 World Cup kicks off on November 20 and runs through December 18 in the Gulf state.

However, Qatar’s staging of the tournament has been dogged by controversy.

The Guardian reported last year that 6,500 migrant workers had died in the country in the 10 years following Qatar’s successful bid to host the tournament in 2010, most of whom were involved in low-wage, dangerous labor, often undertaken in extreme heat.

The report – “categorically” denied by tournament organizers – did not connect all 6,500 deaths with World Cup infrastructure projects and has not been independently verified by CNN.

Qatar has also been the subject of criticism for the country’s anti-LGBTQ laws.

Earlier this week British LGBTQ activist Peter Tatchell protested by himself outside the Qatar national museum.

“I did this protest to highlight Qatar’s abuse of LGBT, women’s and migrant workers rights,” Tatchell’s foundation said in a statement.

“I was standing in solidarity with brave Qatari human rights defenders who cannot make their voices heard because of the risk of arrest, jail and torture.”

Celine Alkhaldi, Irene Nasser, Sammy Mngqosini and Wayne Sterling contributed to this report.