Saudi-led economic blockade of Qatar was ‘broken within hours’, says minister

“Qatar’s economy minister has said that an embargo imposed by a Saudi-led bloc of Arab states was overcome within hours after it initiated a pre-existing plan of action.

Qatar’s economy minister has said that an embargo imposed by a Saudi-led bloc of Arab states was overcome within hours after it initiated a pre-existing plan of action.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Mohammed Al Thani said on Thursday at a Turkey-Qatar business forum in the western Turkish province of Izmir that the blockade has failed to impact the Qatari economy.

“Qatar managed to break the siege within hours by activating a pre-emptive strategy that was prepared years ago to resist any regional or global crises,” Sheikh Ahmed said.

“The plan relied on combined efforts from both the public and private sectors through increasing domestic production and opening new channels with Qatar’s various trading partners around the world,” he added.

The minister hailed the efforts of close Qatar ally Turkey for its economic support throughout the standoff, which began in June when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut ties with Doha accusing it of backing extremism.

The four nations have closed their land and sea borders to Qatar and imposed economic and air traffic restrictions.

Doha has categorically denied the allegations and has condemned the blockade as unjustified and a violation of international law.

“Doha and Tehran want to reach a three-way agreement on transporting Turkish products to Qatar in a cost-effective way”

On Friday, Turkey’s economy minister said Ankara, Doha and Tehran want to reach a three-way agreement on transporting Turkish products to Qatar in a cost-effective way.

Nihat Zeybekci told Anadolu Agency that the countries would discuss land trade routes that could pass through Iran because continuing to use cargo planes to carry products was not sustainable.

“Shipment by sea will gain importance. We foresee that at least four large tonnage ships would go to Qatar monthly but the land route is an alternative for carrying flexible and smaller packages,” Zeybekci said.

Turkish exports to Qatar increased in June to more than $50 million.

Ankara has sent fruit, dairy and poultry products by ship and by plane to help Doha beat the embargo.

The crisis has put Turkey in a delicate position as it seeks to balance its strategic alliance with Qatar with preserving its own relations with regional kingpin Saudi Arabia.

Turkey is setting up a military base in Qatar, its only such outpost in the region. It has sped up the process since the crisis began and reportedly now has 150 troops at the base.

After a whistlestop tour of the region last month that included visits to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said more time was needed to solve the crisis.

The New Arab

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