Qatar warns of ‘long-last­ing’ im­pact of Gulf cri­sis

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

Qatar’s ruler said Tues­day “crises pass” but warned of “long-last­ing” scars from an ac­ri­mo­nious diplo­matic dis­pute that has seen Doha iso­lated by Saudi Ara­bia and its al­lies for more than a year.

In an an­nual ad­dress to the na­tion, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad alThani point­edly called on other Gulf states to re­spect Qatar’s sovereignty and not “in­ter­fere” in other coun­tries’ af­fairs.

“His­tory teaches us that crises pass, but their mis­man­age­ment may leave be­hind long-last­ing ef­fects,” Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said.

Once al­lies, Saudi Ara­bia, the United Arab Emi­rates and Bahrain have im­posed a near-to­tal em­bargo on Qatar since June 2017 over al­le­ga­tions the emi­rate sup­ports rad­i­cal Is­lamist groups and seeks closer ties with Riyadh’s arch-ri­val Tehran.

Qatar de­nies the charges, ac­cus­ing its neigh­bors of seek­ing regime change.

The emir said the cri­sis had ex­posed the weak­nesses of the Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil (GCC), the re­gional po­lit­i­cal bloc of which the ri­val coun­tries are mem­bers.

“It’s truly re­gret­table that the con­tin­u­a­tion of the Gulf cri­sis re­vealed the fail­ure of the GCC to achieve its ob­jec­tives and meet the as­pi­ra­tions of our Gulf peo­ple.”

He said Qatar had suf­fered no eco­nomic dam­age from the boy­cott and pre­dicted it would re­tain its po­si­tion as the world’s largest ex­porter of liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas.

“Our oil and gas ex­ports have not been af­fected by the block­ade,” he said.

“The state has been keen on ful­fill­ing all its obli­ga­tions un­der the ex­ist­ing con­tracts and has signed sev­eral long-term con­tracts, the lat­est of which was with Petro China.”

The cri­sis has thrown into the spot­light Qatar’s prepa­ra­tions for the 2022 World Cup, which have been plagued with al­le­ga­tions of la­bor rights vi­o­la­tions.

Sheikh Tamim said main­tain­ing the huge ex­pen­di­tures nec­es­sary to host in­ter­na­tional soc­cer’s show­piece tour­na­ment was “not easy” but the gov­ern­ment had done so de­spite the hit state rev­enues had taken from the sharp fall in world en­ergy prices from 2014.

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