On DW's "Conflict Zone," Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah talks to Tim Sebastian about terrorist groups and human rights as well as the controversy surrounding the FIFA World Cup 2022.
The full DW interview airs Wednesday, October 21, at 17.30 UTC. In it, the foreign minister said that the so-called Islamic State was "only a symptom."
"We should focus more on helping the Syrians get their freedom," he said.
Referring to any possible progress in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, and specifically about the role of the militant Islamist group Hamas, he said: "Today, Hamas is more pragmatic than ever. (…) If we can expedite the peace process, I think Hamas will be part of it."
Tim Sebastian asked the foreign minister about human rights in his country, where poet Mohammed al-Ajami was arrested in 2011 and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2012. His life sentence was reduced to 15 years in 2013. He answered that "Amnesty International's report on Mohammed al-Ajami is wrong. (…) You can say they made it up."
Another topic was the awarding of the 2022 football World Cup to Qatar. "Nothing can scare us in Qatar because we have presented the best file for FIFA World Cup 2022," said Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah."Some people from your region," he added, "cannot digest that a small country like Qatar, an Islamic country, in the Middle East, can hold the 2022 cup."
Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah, born in 1967, holds a law degree from Beirut Arab University and is a trained air force pilot. From 2003 to 2008 he was the President of the National Committee for Human Rights, while also working as a lawyer. After holding several political offices, he was first appointed Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in 2011, and in 2013, Foreign Minister of Qatar.
Tim Sebastian invites national and international decision-makers to his weekly DW show. "Conflict Zone" airs every Wednesday at 17.30 UTC and will be available online on demand.