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US official lauds Qatar’s steps to protect rights of foreign workers

US official lauds Qatar’s steps to protect rights of foreign workers

Ailyn Agonia
Doha
Outgoing Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires of the US to Qatar HE William Grant has heaped praise on Qatar for the steps it has taken to increase the protection of the rights of expatriate workers.
“Qatar has taken tremendous steps to increase the protection of the rights of workers, give them the rights they deserve and make sure that they are protected if they lose their jobs as well as other advances. We are also doing a lot of work with Qatar to help them develop that capacity,” Grant, who will soon end his two-year tenure in Qatar, told local media during a roundtable discussion on Thursday.
“We have done training of labour inspectors, people who go out to make sure that the good laws implemented by the government are actually implemented in workplaces. We are glad we are able to assist Qatar as it takes positive decisions to increase protection for workers,” said Grant.
On this note, he said a group of judges who are assigned in labour courts in Qatar will be undergoing training in the US next month to further develop their capacity in resolving labour disputes.
Furthermore, Grant described the Qatar-US relationship as exceptional as a result of the strategic decisions made by the leadership of Qatar to work very closely with the US on a range of issues.
He said there is an extensive government to government contacts marked by frequent exchange of high-profile visits between the two
countries.
The official said the Amir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani is preparing to visit the US this year for his annual visit where he will meet US President Donald Trump and other senior officials.
On the strategic dialogue between Qatar and US, Grant said another round of the dialogue is expected to be held this year. The US is working closely with Qatar in finalising the agenda which will cover a wide range of topics such as military and security cooperation, education as well as the Qatar-US Year of Culture in 2021, he added.
Citing another highlight to the Qatar-US relations, Grant said the military relationship of the two countries has strengthened over the last three years. The US is happy to see a stronger military partner in Qatar, he added.
“The navy of Qatar and the navy of the US are doing more together. We are seeing extensive cooperation with other military specialties. We are also seeing the military of Qatar becoming a stronger partner. They work hard to try to be able to cooperate with us on joint operations in this region and in doing so they are building the capacity to defend Qatar. Qatar military is becoming more effective and it will have a long-term relationship with the US military because of the training, the exercise and the interaction we have,” said Grant.
On the efforts of the two countries in fighting terrorism, Grant said the cooperation to combat the financing of terrorism has been going well and could go better once the dispute between Qatar and the blockading countries will finally be resolved.
On the ongoing blockade of Qatar and the role of the US in pushing for immediate resolution of the crisis, he reiterated the strong position of the US government for the dispute to be resolved quickly for the benefit of the region.
He said, “I think it is not correct to say we have not pushed hard. We have had many private conversations with all the parties. Unfortunately, it has not produced an outcome yet. We continue to talk to all the parties about this and to urge them to establish some mechanisms for settling disputes so that it doesn’t cause the problems that we are seeing now and have seen for the last three years or so,” the official said.
On business and economic relationship of the two countries, Grant said it is strong marked with a 35 percent increase in their bilateral trade in 2019 over the year before. He also mentioned the increasing investments in both countries.
On education, he said the presence of the six American universities in Qatar is part of the contribution of the US to the future growth of Qatar.