Excluisve: QatarEnergy boss says World Cup tension will not impact German business

DOHA (Reuters) – Qatar’s energy chief Saad al-Kaabi said on Monday that business with German firms would not be affected by political tensions over criticism of Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup, which has angered officials in Gulf Arab states. gas source.

Kaabi told Reuters he was shocked by German Economy Minister Robert Habeck’s widely reported remarks last week and confirmed by his ministry on Monday that awarding Doha the championship was “a stupid idea and can only be explained by corruption”.

Doha has faced mounting criticism, mostly from Europe, over its treatment of foreign workers and LGBT rights ahead of the World Cup, which began on Sunday. The organization denied discrimination and cited labor reforms, while the organizers had previously denied allegations of bribery to win hosting rights.

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Al-Kaabi, who also serves as Minister of State for Energy, said: “The comments made by Mr. Habek again, are not beneficial to the relationship, but our work will move forward.”

Qatar’s foreign minister accused Berlin of “double standards” in a press interview earlier this month. In October, the German ambassador was summoned to his office to object to the German interior minister’s critical comments.

The reigning prince of one of the world’s top gas exporters, which Europe has sought to help tackle an energy supply crisis, has blasted growing international criticism of Qatar, calling it a “vicious slanderer”.

Qatar Energy and German utility companies have been closing in on long-term liquefied natural gas (LNG) deals for most of this year as Berlin looks for alternatives to Russia, Germany’s biggest gas supplier.

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“The companies in Germany have excellent leadership and so we have a great relationship,” Kaabi said, adding that his job was to insulate Qatar Energy from politics and that its talks were with the companies, not the government.

“You see trade deals like the one we signed today with China are 27-year deals. They outlast CEOs like me, outlast ministers like me, and outlast governments,” he said, referring to a supply deal with Sinopec announced Monday. .

The head of “Qatar Energy” said that Habeck did not direct such direct criticism of Qatar to him.

The German minister, who is in charge of the energy portfolio in Berlin, was in Doha in March and said long-term energy partnerships were being negotiated.

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Sources told Reuters the talks between Germany and Qatar were fraught with disagreements over key terms such as contract duration and pricing.

Al-Kaabi, in an interview with Reuters, denied this statement and said that he would announce the details of each deal as soon as it was signed.

“Whether it’s in Germany or Europe or wherever we sign, we’ll sign deals. We’re working closely on deals in Europe, Asia and so forth. And that rhetoric about people talking about things is just talk,” he said. .

(Reporting by Andrew Mills and Maha El Dahan). Additional reporting by Reham El Koussa in Berlin. Editing by Ghaida Ghantous and Alexander Smith

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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