Prime Minister David Cameron held talks with the Emir of Qatar, zeroing in on the country’s links to Islamic State (IS) and the need for more to be done to help halt the terror group.
He also raised growing concerns about the spiralling number of deaths among the country’s workforce currently helping build stadiums across its World Cup sites ahead of the 2022 tournament being played there.
The Downing Street talks were being viewed as significant given Qatar’s geography in the Middle East, making it potentially key to efforts on terrorism, business and human rights.
Qatar is part of the military coalition against IS. However, elements within the wealthy state have been accused of bankrolling the militants.
Ministers have also been called on to investigate reports that UK companies are being short-changed on World Cup construction contracts and claims that some funds are being siphoned off to Syria for IS.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said Mr Cameron would raise concerns about conditions for stadium construction workers with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. The spokesman said: “He will be discussing that with the emir.
“The Qatari authorities themselves have in recent months announced a series of changes and reforms.
“I’m sure there will be an opportunity for the Prime Minister to ask how that is going and to continue to make the offer of UK expertise and learning from our experience of construction of the various pieces of infrastructure associated with the London 2012 Olympics.”
Allegations of corruption during the bidding process for the 2022 tournament have also dogged Qatar and the high death rate on match sites has sparked international condemnation.
That has already led to calls from Labour for the selection process for the 2022 World Cup to be re-run against a background of human rights abuses and the criminalisation of homosexuality and drinking alcohol in Qatar.
The spokesman said the question of whether Qatar should host the World Cup was “a matter for Fifa”.
IS was expected to dominate most of the agenda.
Mr Cameron and the emir would discuss the need for all countries to work together in the fight against terrorism, as well as talk about business and investment opportunities in one another’s countries, the spokesman said.