The Qatari leader also addressed the unfair criticism his country has faced for hosting the World Cup.
Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has slammed double standards in addressing the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
“We should not accept a world where governments have double standards about the value of people based on their region, race, or religion. We consider the value, of each
European life to be just as precious as someone from our region,” the amir told 2022’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Monday.
Commenting on the killing of Abu Akleh by the Zionist state’s forces, Sheikh Tamim said her death is as horrific as the seven journalists killed in Ukraine since March and other places in the world.
“[The] Palestinian-American journalist was killed two weeks ago in Palestine, and then robbed, of a dignified-burial. Shireen was covering the suffering, of the Palestinian people for decades, and our hearts, are broken,” said the amir.
Abu Akleh was killed on 11 May while covering the Israeli occupation forces’ raid on Jenin. Despite clearly identifying as a member of the press with her flak jacket and helmet, an Israeli sniper shot her in the head.
The precise spot where she was killed was not covered by the helmet, suggesting a deliberate targeting. Qatar had condemned the brutal killing of Abu Akleh and called for an investigation.
Speaking about the ongoing suffering of Palestinians under occupation, Sheikh Tamim said Palestine remains an “open wound” that needs to be equally addressed by the world, similar to the way in which Ukraine has captured hearts around the globe.
“Those families have been occupied for decades, with no relief in sight. The escalation, in illegal settlement aggression, has been relentless, and the same goes for the continual attacks against the Palestinian people,” said the amir, referring to Palestinians under Israeli occupation.
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, the amir expressed his country’s readiness to find peaceful resolution to the situation.
“We are in touch with all parties concerned in the Ukrainian crisis, and I am ready, to contribute to every international and regional effort to find an immediate, peaceful solution to the conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine,” said Sheikh Tamim.
Russia launched a full-scale invasion into Ukraine on 24 February that has since continued to rob the lives of civilians. According to the UN, the Russian aggression has killed 3,930 civilians in Ukraine, including 69 children, between the start of the invasion until 22 May.
The Qatari leader renewed his country’s rejection for violence along with the violations of the UN charters and international law.
“We stand in solidarity with the millions of innocent refugees who are victims of this European war, and with the victims of all the other wars taking place right now. Victims of every race, nationality, and religion. I want us to help all of them,” said Sheikh Tamim.
As a key mediator, the amir stressed the important role of peace-facilitation and bringing conflicting parties together on the table of negotiations. Qatar has acted as a mediator between various sides, including the US and the Taliban in recent years.
Doha has also hosted the intra-Afghan talks between the former Afghan government and the Taliban. After the Taliban militarily seized power on 15 August, 2021, Qatar facilitated one of history’s largest airlifts of people.
It evacuated more than 70,000 Afghans and foreigners at the time.
“We were honoured to be able to help with the evacuation efforts in Afghanistan.
And it was only possible, thanks to the expert mediation, state-of-the-art military and special forces, search-and-rescue teams,” said the Qatari leader.
Currently, the Gulf state is mediating between Chadian sides in an effort to end the country’s years-long political turmoil.
“Our united efforts need to be based, on the principles already agreed-on: in the Charter of the United Nations, international law, and respecting each others sovereignty,” said the amir.
As a leading producer of liquified natural gas (LNG), climate change has been a key issue addressed by Qatar.
During his speech, the amir stressed that everyone is responsible for protecting the environment, noting that the country seeks to play an active role in addressing the issue.
“Qatar has placed sustainability, front and center, and focus our resources to develop emission-reduction technologies and cleaner energy,” he said.
The Gulf state’s leader called for collective efforts in balancing energy security and environmental protection.
“As one of the largest producers of liquified natural gas in the world, Qatar invested in LNG expansion-efforts for years, understanding that LNG is a critical base-load energy-source, needed during the transition, which is already underway,” said the amir.
Through QatarEnergy’s updated strategy, the company is set to increase the carbon intensity of LNG facilities by 35% instead the initial target of 25%. It also placed a new target for the carbon intensity of its upstream facilities by 25% instead of 15%.
With Qatar facing international scrutiny in the west as the first Arab country to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the amir addressed what he suggested to be unfair criticism.
The Qatari leader says the discrimination is due to people outside of the region refusing to learn about the Middle East.
“Even today, there are still people who cannot accept the idea that an Arab Muslim country would host a tournament, like the World Cup,” he said.
Sheikh Tamim reiterated that Qatar is constantly working on improving and developing, noting progress it has made over the years. The country has addressed human rights concerns with regards to migrant workers over the years by introducing historic reform.
“We are so proud of the development, reform, and progress we have made, and we are grateful for the spotlight that the World Cup provided, which inspired us to make these changes at lightening-speed,” said Sheikh Tamim.