Qatar leader hails Amir’s ef­forts, says ‘1,000 times bet­ter off’ with­out al­lies

Kuwait Times - - Front Page -

DOHA: Months into a dis­pute that has seen Doha cut off from Saudi Ara­bia and the UAE, Qatar’s emir said yes­ter­day his coun­try was “a thou­sand times bet­ter off” with­out them, while laud­ing me­di­a­tion ef­forts ex­erted by HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad AlJaber Al-Sabah. 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 neigh­bors 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 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. “We ex­press our readi­ness for a com­pro­mise within the frame­work of a di­a­logue based on mutual re­spect for sovereignty and com­mon obli­ga­tions, but on the other hand we rec­og­nize that the in­di­ca­tors that come from the block­ade states show they do not want to reach a so­lu­tion,” Tamim said. The four coun­tries have “put pres­sure and pub­lished ru­mors and fab­ri­ca­tions” against Qatar host­ing the World Cup in 2022.

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 ex­pressed deep grat­i­tude to HH the Amir for his me­di­a­tion among the GCC coun­tries and ad­mi­ra­tion of his ro­bust will, wis­dom and keen­ness on the GCC’s fu­ture.

Sheikh Tamim also 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. — Agen­cies

DOHA: Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Ha­mad AlThani ad­dresses the 46th in­au­gu­ral ses­sion of the Qatari Shura Coun­cil yes­ter­day. — KUNA

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