British minister defends Qatar stance on workers…

Doha: A leading British official has defended Qatar’s position concerning the foreign workers in Doha as reported by The Guardian newspaper.

Commenting on reports published by the British newspaper about foreign workers in Qatar and whether it could have negative impact on relations between the two countries, Hugh Robertson, the British Minister of State in the Foreign Office, who is in charge of the Middle East, North African Affairs, said that the British press has always stick baton up at all.” I personally have been slammed by the press when I was Minister of Sport”, and expressed his belief that the Organising Committee for the 2022 World Cup might have addressed this issue.

Robertson described the Qatari- British ties as strong, deep-rooted, developing and positive.

Addressing a press conference at the British Embassy in Doha yesterday, Robertson said that he had met the Assistant Foreign Minister H E Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Rumaihi, describing the meeting as positive and friendly. “We emphasised the strength of relations between the two countries and as strongly developing for the existing major common interests between the two countries”, Robertson said.

He said: “We also discussed possibility of cementing bilateral relations in the fields of security, defence, energy, trade , culture and sports,” referring to the Qatar-UK 2013 Year of Culture, which recently concluded in Doha.

During his meeting with the Organising Committee for the 2022 World Cup, Robertson asserted cooperation in the field of organising sporting events and the transfer of the British experience in this area.

With regard to the exemption of Qatari citizens from entry visa to Britain and possibility of circulating it to the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Robertson said that Qatar, the UAE and Oman were first exempted from the requirements of an entry visa.

Touching on British-Gulf relations, he MP described it as deeply rooted and are now in their best shape, especially in the framework of the Gulf initiative, which is made up of a number of working groups, each acting separately ,stressing that the British Foreign Office seeks to strengthen these relations with all countries in the region so as to achieve common interests.

Robertson pointed out that no one can claim that the Geneva II conference will be easy because of the ongoing conflict in Syria ,saying it depends on the genuine desire of the disputing parties to reach a peace agreement ending the conflict.

The British MP added that the success of the Geneva II conference depends on efforts exerted on part of everyone, including the Western countries and the United States and its allies in the region.

He stressed that all parties are making efforts to persuade the disputing parties to sit down at the negotiating table in order to reach a final agreement. QNA

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