Immediately before the Qatar World Cup: Emir thanks Putin for his cooperation

The World Cup kicks off in Qatar on Sunday.

Immediately before the Qatar World Cup: Emir thanks Putin for his cooperation

The World Cup kicks off in Qatar on Sunday. Internationally, the tournament in the desert is controversial because of numerous human rights violations and scandals. A phone call between Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Vladimir Putin is likely to further fuel the criticism.

Shortly before the start of the controversial soccer World Cup in Qatar, the hosts apparently maintain very close contact with Russia. On Friday, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani called Russian President Vladimir Putin and thanked him for "cooperation in organizing this event." This was announced by the Emir's office. Putin also congratulated Qatar on hosting the World Cup. The heads of state had already met in mid-October at the Conference on Cooperation and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Astana. Putin and Al-Thani had retreated to the capital of Kazakhstan for a one-to-one talk.

Qatar's state news agency QNA then announced that Russia was offering "great support" for the desert state in relation to the World Cup. The "coordination" would therefore "continue, and we thank Russia for it". The news agency also announced that, according to Putin, "relationships between Russia and Qatar" would continue to develop. Accordingly, Russia is also doing "everything to share our experiences in preparing for the World Cup". There will be a fan zone for Russians at the tournament.

Because of the war against Ukraine, Russia is banned from the international football community until further notice. The host of the 2018 World Cup had already taken part in a safety drill last year. According to the AFP news agency, preparations have been made without Russian help since the invasion of the neighboring country. Officially, Qatar criticizes the annexation of Ukrainian territories by Russia, high-ranking Russian politicians are not expected at the World Cup.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Qatar early next week to hold diplomatic talks and discuss human rights issues. In addition, Blinken will watch the United States' first World Cup group game against Wales in the stadium on Monday, the State Department said on Friday.

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