PM to hold talks with Emir of Qatar

Published: Wednesday 29th October 2014 by The News Editor

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David Cameron will hold talks with the Emir of Qatar today amid concerns about the country’s links to Islamic State (IS) and the high death rate among workers on its World Cup sites.

Neighbouring Arab nations have repeatedly accused the wealthy state of bankrolling IS militants, an allegation that has been flatly denied by Qatari officials.

Ministers were last night called on to investigate reports that UK companies are being short-changed on World Cup construction contracts and claims that some funds are being siphoned off to Syria for IS.

Allegations of corruption during the bidding process for the 2022 tournament have also dogged Qatar and the high death rate on match sites has sparked international condemnation.

Former TUC general secretary Lord Monks earlier this month called for urgent action to stop the playing fields of Qatar becoming “killing fields”.

He urged the Government to call on Fifa, the governing body of world football, “to show a red card to Qatar and move the World Cup to somewhere that deserves it”.

Downing Street has insisted “no issues are off the table” during the meeting between Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and the Prime Minister in No 10 today.

The oil and gas rich nation is a significant investor in Britain and owns the Shard, Britain’s tallest building, as well as Harrods.

Boris Johnson yesterday took the Emir on a tour of the Olympic Village, which has seen major Qatari investment in existing and planned future homes.

The mayor of London said: “I’m delighted to have been able to show the Emir the park today, and to spend some time talking about regeneration across London. Our meeting was positive and constructive. It’s clear London’s relationship with Qatar continues to go from strength to strength.”

Asked earlier this week whether the PM would raise the issue of working conditions for foreign labourers constructing the stadiums, Mr Cameron’s official spokesman said: “No issues are off the table.

“If you are thinking of the reports on football stadia, British Government ministers have raised that in recent weeks. I know a minister raised it in Doha in the last couple of weeks and I expect ministers will continue to raise it.

“The British Government has raised and continues to raise issues around the treatment of migrant workers involved in the construction of stadia in Qatar.”

Asked whether Mr Cameron would challenge the Emir on reports that elements in his country have channelled funds to Islamic State militants, the spokesman said: “I’m sure the PM will talk about the work being done by both countries in terms of tackling terrorism.

“Qatar is part of the coalition of countries participating in airstrikes against Isil in Syria. All countries are taking forward anti-terror financing work consistent with the UN Security Council Resolution in August.

“I’m sure they will discuss a range of issues to do with combating terror in that region.”

Published: Wednesday 29th October 2014 by The News Editor

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