The Qatari foreign minister kept Frank-Walter Steinmeier waiting in scorching heat
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was kept waiting for almost 30 minutes in a plane passenger exit in the searing heat of Doha on Wednesday, before Qatari Foreign Minister Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi finally arrived to receive him, German media have reported.
State outlet Deutsche Welle (DW), accompanying Steinmeier’s delegation, said the official preparations for the president’s arrival in Qatar had appeared to be in place. The red carpet had been rolled out and the guard of honor was ready, but no official was there to welcome the German president as he stood, arms folded, at the top of the ramp. Despite the delay, Steinmeier’s meeting with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani later proceeded according to schedule, DW reported.
Steinmeier was in the Middle Eastern state to discuss efforts to release the remaining German hostages being held by Hamas, following the Palestinian militant group’s attack on Israel on October 7.
Several German nationals were among the more than 200 hostages taken by Hamas during its assault, which killed more 1,200 people.
Berlin has repeatedly stated that it supports Israel’s right to self-defense amid its devastating response in Gaza, which has claimed more than 16,000 Palestinian lives, according to the enclave’s Health Ministry.
DW suggested that “Wednesday’s apparent snub” could lead some to wonder if it was a response to statements by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock in October.
“We do not accept support for terror,” Baerbock told the ZDF channel, arguing that countries such as Qatar “have a special responsibility to put an end to this terrorism.”
Qatar hosts the office of the Hamas political wing. Its proximity to the Palestinian militant group has made Doha a key figure in the negotiations between Israel and Hamas over the release of hostages.
On Tuesday, CIA Director William Burns and the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service, David Barnea, visited Qatar to hold talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani about the extension of a ceasefire in Gaza, as well as the ongoing hostage negotiations.
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