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Qatar Warns of “Long-Lasting” Impact of Gulf Crisis

2018-11-07 - 6:33 p

Bahrain Mirror- AFP: Qatar's ruler said Tuesday "crises pass" but warned of "long-lasting" scars from a 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 al-Thani 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 neighbours of seeking regime change.

The emir said the Qatari economy had not been damaged by the boycott, adding that the country 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 concluded 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 labour rights violations.

Sheikh Tamim said the preparations were "not easy" but the state was continuing to provide funding for international football's showpiece tournament.

Qatar is spending around $500 million a week to prepare for 2022.

Arabic Version