Qatar ‘bet­ter off’ with­out Gulf al­lies: emir

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - REGION -

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. –

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