Qatar 'thousand times better off' without Gulf allies: Emir

Iran, Turkey and most recently Spain have stepped in to help Qatar secure food imports amid a boycott by four Arab states.

Published: 14th November 2017 03:51 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th November 2017 03:51 PM   |  A+A-

Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. (Photo | AP)

By AFP

DOHA: Months into a dispute that has seen Doha cut off from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Qatar's emir said Tuesday his country was "a thousand times better off" without them.

In a speech to the Shura Council, the upper house of parliament, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said his government had nonetheless put in place contingency plans as he expected the bitter political dispute with his neighbours and former allies to drag on.

"We do not fear the boycott of these countries against us, we are a thousand times better off without them," the emir told members of the council and foreign dignitaries in Doha.

"But vigilance is required," he added.

Sheikh Tamim nonetheless said his government was working on "introducing a number of food security projects" and had "given special attention to water security" as it looked to a future without its former Arab allies.

Iran, Turkey and most recently Spain have stepped in to help Qatar secure food imports amid a boycott by four Arab states.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt in June announced they had severed ties with Qatar, sealing off the emirate's only land border in the wide-ranging boycott.

They accuse Qatar's government of supporting Islamist extremism and fostering close ties with Iran.

Qatar denies the charges, claiming the dispute is an attack on its sovereignty.

Both parties in the crisis, the worst to grip the Gulf Cooperation Council in its 36-year history, have refused to back down despite mediation attempts by Kuwait and the United States.

Sheikh Tamim said his country also planned to hold elections for the Shura Council, whose 45 members are currently appointed by the emir.

The world's largest exporter of liquified natural gas, Qatar has claimed it can cope with the demands of the dispute, despite the boycott being put in place by former regional allies and major trading partners.

Moody's has estimated that Qatar used $38.5 billion -- equivalent to 23 percent of its GDP -- to support the economy in the first two months of sanctions.

Qatar, which is scheduled to host the 2022 World Cup, insists that it is economically strong enough to survive the crisis.

Doha this month said it was investigating an alleged attempt to manipulate its currency the Qatari riyal early on in the crisis by an international company partly owned by United Arab Emirates investors. 

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

facebook twitter whatsapp