Qatar ‘better off’ without Gulf allies: emir
DOHA/KUWAIT CITY: Months into a dispute that has seen Doha cut off from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, 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 alThani 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.”
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.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar in June, 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.
Both parties in the crisis have refused to back down despite mediation attempts by Kuwait and the U.S.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks Tuesday with Kuwait’s ruler Sheikh Sabah alAhmad al-Sabah, where they discussed “regional and international developments,” the government-run KUNA news agency said. The two leaders also discussed “means to improve cooperation on all fronts” between the two nations and inked a direct investment agreement, it said. Turkey and Kuwait’s military chiefs of staff held talks on the “developing and strengthening” military cooperation, KUNA said. Erdogan is scheduled to visit Doha Wednesday. –