Qatar’s energy minister criticizes Habeck – but has a “good relationship” with the German government

“Should have more respect”
Qatar’s energy minister criticizes Habeck

In the future, Germany will be dependent on liquefied gas from Qatar – but deliveries will not start until 2026. The Gulf state’s energy minister explains the background and gives hope for further agreements. At the same time, he criticizes Economy Minister Habeck for his corruption comment about the World Cup.

Shortly after the signing of the new liquefied gas agreement between Qatar and Germany, Qatar’s Energy Minister Saad Scherida Al-Kaabi spoke in an interview with the “Bild” newspaper – criticizing Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck and Interior Minister Nancy Faeser. He also commented on the late start of gas supplies from 2026 and how his country dealt with gay people.

On the question, Al-Kaabi said why Qatar could only supply gas to Germany from 2026: “A lot needs to be planned,” the minister said. Drilling is necessary and a large fleet of ships must be built. The investments for this amounted to 20 billion dollars. “100 LNG ships, $125 million per ship, it just takes ten years to prepare something like that.”

What can Qatar do to bridge the gap to 2026? “What we have already done is to stop sending all the amounts of gas that should go to Europe somewhere else,” the energy minister said. This practice would be ended and the contract with Germany was also part of it.

Up “no max”

Supplies from Qatar are said to amount to up to two million tonnes of gas per year and last at least 15 years. Al-Kaabi estimated that the agreed delivery volumes would cover around three percent of German demand. But this can still be improved in the future. There is “no maximum” at the top end.

However, Al-Kaabi described German Economy Minister Habeck’s comment that the World Cup in Qatar in such heat could only be “explained by corruption” as “irresponsible”. “If you accuse someone of corruption, you have to provide evidence first. You can be sued for it.” If Habeck actually said this, then it was wrong. “He should have more respect for Qatar and its people,” the minister said.

Qatar’s energy minister also reacted to the famous photo from March this year in which Habeck appears to bow to Al-Kaabi during his visit to the emirate: “I don’t like the picture. It looks like he bowed to me. It is not at all what happened.” Habeck rather held out his hand because he was still on the phone himself. “It only looks like he bowed, but he didn’t,” Al-Kaabi said. He emphasized: “I have a good relationship with Habeck and the entire German government. We respect them and they respect us.”

“Islamic law does not accept LGBTQ”

In the interview, Al-Kaabi also rejected changes in the treatment of homosexuals in his country as a result of the World Cup. “As Muslims, we believe that LGBTQ is not acceptable in our religion,” Al-Kaabi said. “Islamic law does not accept LGBTQ.” The English abbreviation LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.

He rejected international criticism of Qatar’s position on this issue. “The West wants to dictate to us what they want,” he said. It is required “that we as Qataris must change. That we must change our religion, our faith.” This is “unacceptable”. Al-Kaabi accused the West of having “great double standards” in this regard.

Al-Kaabi also commented on Interior Minister Nancy Faeser’s visit to the stadium with the “One Love” armband: “I don’t think people took it well. When I visit another country as an official and I know that country is greeted by a special gesture (…) is attacked, then I would respect it.’

(This article was first published on Wednesday, November 30, 2022.)

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