‘National unity’ led Qatar’s resilience against the blockade imposed by neighbors – Yousuf Bin Mohamed, Qatar’s Ambassador to Nepal [Interview]
Yousuf Bin Mohamed Ahmed Al- Hail who was appointed to the ambassadorial post here in November 2016 says national unity is the indispensable pillar to overcome national obstacles. Qatar a key to global labour market faced diplomatic crises with neighbours a couple of years back has now completely come to the position of self-reliance.
Coinciding with Qatar’s backdrop and magical self-reliance including various labour issues Lokaantar talked with him about the issues related to the bilateral diplomatic relation.
Here goes an edited excerpt of the interview:
What is Qatar’s take on four decades long diplomatic ties with Nepal?
I would say that the bilateral relations between the State of Qatar and Nepal have been developing well during these four decades, as the State of Qatar is keen to develop relations with Nepal in various fields through signing of agreements in various fields to strengthen cooperation in a formal way between our two governments.
We’ve achieved positive steps and aspire to realize more in order to further strengthen relations, we have important agreements we seek to sign, including the amendment of the labor agreement of 2005, the first labor agreement signed by Nepal with another country, and then the agreement on cooperation in the field of health as well as we seek to sign an agreement to protect investments. The two countries have high level of cooperation at the international forums and UN organizations arena through mutual support as well as our sharing the same views on global issues and adherence to international conventions.
How will Qatar as a friendly nation help Nepal achieve the goal of “Happy Nepali, Prosperous Nepal”? Is there any chance of Qatari investors investing in Nepal’s hydroelectricity, tourism and infrastructure development?
First of all, I would like to say that we are pleased with Nepal’s achievements at the political level since the CPA in 2006, the promulgation of the Constitution in 2015, the success of the general elections in 2017, and the achievement of political stability. We are ready to cooperate with Nepal in the field of agriculture, energy and other investments. We appreciate the efforts of the Government and the Investment Authority in the field of reform and the relevant of laws. We also seek to sign important agreements to enhance economic cooperation.
We are seeking to enhance cooperation between the two countries in various fields. I have been calling on Nepali business sectors to cooperate with Qatar in order to increase trade exchange and activate the joint chamber MoU by participating in various exhibitions in the State of Qatar and inviting Qatari companies to visit Nepal to explore investment opportunities.
Nepal is celebrating 2020 as Visit Nepal Year. What role will the embassy play in making Visit Nepal campaign successful? How will it inspire Qatari tourists to visit Nepal?
Visit Nepal 2020 campaign will be launched globally in January 2020 in various countries including Qatar. We welcome the campaign and the efforts to promote tourism in Nepal and we believe in the tremendous potential of Nepal in the field of tourism that is rarely available in any other country in the world, and there is a huge boom in the hospitality sector I would like to assure you that the number of Qatari tourists is constantly increasing compared to previous years, especially in the field of mountaineering. I would like to indicate that Nepal has an opportunity for medical and therapeutic tourism which should be well promoted in the Gulf countries.
Qatar is Nepali migrant laborers’ favorite destination country. How do you assess the condition of Nepali migrant workers in Qatar?
The State of Qatar has made tremendous steps in the field of labor during the last period, where it has amended the Labor Law and ended the sponsorship system, ensured the freedom for the worker to change the employer without the need to leave the country, made the official dealing with residence card and not the passport, obliged companies to deposit salaries through banks, formed a court in the Ministry of Labor to settle disputes, provide medical and recreational services to workers as well as other important and continuous steps within the framework of recognition of the role of Nepali workers in the State of Qatar.
Certainly there are problems in this sector, some of them because of illegal manpower offices and the problem of Azad visa and trafficking agents. We appreciate the role of the government and civil society organizations in confronting these challenges because we believe that migrant workers are important for the benefit of both countries and therefore their rights should be preserved and protected.We are seeking to amend and sign the bilateral labor agreement of 2005.There is a joint committee for that purpose.
The State of Qatar opened the Qatar Visa center QVC with the purpose of supporting migrant labor and we thank the Government of Nepal for its cooperation.
What is Qatar’s perspective on Nepali workers? Has Qatar developed any plans to create more jobs ahead?
I would like to emphasize that the Nepali workers enjoy the respect and appreciation of the leadership of the State and the Qatari people because of their integrity, sincerity and dedication and their reflection of the high ethics of Nepali nation.
The State of Qatar adopts Vision 2030 where it plans for other major projects and would like to continue this cooperation it’s our intention to carry on further after the FIFA world cup 2022.
How did Qatar achieve such enviable economic prosperity in such a short period? What is the secret of Qatar’s resilience in face of adversity from its neighbors in the form of blockade?
The top leadership of State of Qatar has a clear vision, which focused on the development and prosperity of the people, and supervised the elaboration of strategies and plans to the optimum use of national resources in cooperation with strong international partnerships, and attracted high expertise and skills in a number of fields.
I would like to indicate to the strong sense of unity among His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the ruling family and the Qatari people this led to intensive efforts by the Qatari citizen to promote the country into higher levels, therefore you find that the development of the State of Qatar is an ongoing process, this national unity that already exists is very useful for the country at the time of the blockade and it is known that during crises, national unity is the indispensable pillar to overcome obstacles, then the State of Qatar is oriented towards self-reliance. Consequently, in the year of the blockade it has become stronger and managed to produce many food products compared to its dependence on food imports in the past.
What are Qatar’s preparations for the Football World Cup 2022? Why do you think the western media portray Qatar in a poor light surrounding world cup preparations?
Most of the preparations have been completed and some stadiums have been officially opened and you know that the State of Qatar hosted the GCC Football Competition with the participation of all teams. His Highness the Amir welcomed all the spectators and participants from neighboring countries, and the Qatari people love football.
I would like to thank the Nepali workers for their cooperation in establishing sports facilities. What is sometimes mentioned in the Western media I think that it is not updated with the great developments that took place in the State of Qatar and I’ve referred to earlier which has been recognized by the competent international bodies such as the International Labor Organization, which has an office in the State of Qatar and we have joint initiatives and projects in this regard.
What is the probability of high-level visit of Qatari officials to Nepal?
The Embassy attaches great importance to high-level visits which is considered as one of the important steps in strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries. We are delighted and honored by the visit of Rt. Hon. Mrs. Bydia Devi Bhandari, President of the Republic of Nepal to the State of Qatar last November, which was fruitful and successful and will be followed by other visits. We will exert our efforts to have such visits from our side also, which push bilateral cooperation to broader horizons.
We have a joint working committee at the foreign ministry level to discuss political affairs, I assure you of the keenness of the State of Qatar to carry out such visits, which will develop bilateral cooperation to broader horizons.
To conclude, do you want to convey any message on the occasion of Qatar’s national day?
On the occasion of the National Day of the State of Qatar, I would like to extend my congratulations to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Government and people of the State of Qatar, and I express my deepest greetings to the friendly people and Government of Nepal and wish to achieve their aspirations of development, prosperity and happiness.
I see this quite close as Nepal is already embarking on a process of change towards development compared to previous years. We are ready to talk, consult and actually cooperate, and always hope to see Nepal prosperous, safe and stable.