Qatari government summons Portuguese ambassador over “hostile declarations” 
Paulo Neves Pochino was summoned to an audience with Qatar's deputy prime minister (unnamed by reports) His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani. Photo: Twitter

Qatari government summons Portuguese ambassador over “hostile declarations” 

Qatar “displeased” by declarations made by several figures of Portuguese State

On the eve of Portugal’s first World Cup match, which takes place at 4pm today, against Ghana, the government of Qatar ‘summoned’ the Portuguese ambassador in Doha, to complain about ‘hostile declarations’ it believes have been made by “several figures of the Portuguese State”.

TVI/CNN broke the news yesterday, explaining that the deputy prime minister of Qatar (unnamed by the station) informed Portuguese ambassador Paulo Pocinho of his “displeasure”, insisting that the ‘declarations’ such as they were were “unacceptable”.

Qatar is “only not taking more drastic measures” , Mr Pocinho was told, “in the name of the historic friendship that unites the two countries”.

As has been reported, President Marcelo has suggested we should all “forget about” Qatar’s lack of respect for human rights, and concentrate on football.

Portugal’s head of State has however guaranteed that he ‘will say what (he) thinks about the political situation’ and “talk about the question of human rights” during his brief trip this week.

Perhaps that is what the Qatari government is seeking to avoid – any further declarations by Marcelo that might overstep the diplomatic mark.

Aside from Marcelo’s words, Portugal’s prime minister António Costa has also said: “The World Cup is there (Qatar), and when we go there we will certainly not be supporting the regime of Qatar, the violation of human rights and discrimination against women. We will be supporting the national team, the team of all Portuguese people”.

Mr Costa is expected to travel to Qatar for Portugal’s 3rd match, on December 2.

Before that date, leader of parliament Augusto Santos Silva will be flying to Qatar for the national team’s second game. Up till now, Mr Santos Silva does not appear to have made any declarations that could be considered hostile.

Not so Secretary of State for the Portuguese communities, however. Paulo Cafôfo has said “this World Cup also serves to draw attention to the working conditions of immigrants throughout the world, attacks against liberty and human rights. These are larger issues than any game of football or trophy”.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com