Saudi minister: Qatar action is a boycott, not a blockade

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags United arab emirates

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has clarified that what was perceived as a multinational blockade of Qatar is actually a boycott, and stated that his country is willing to provide food aid if needed.

According to Sky News Arabia, Adel Al-Jubeir said Said has been exercising its “sovereign right​” to shutter its borders with its eastern neighbour, in line with wider action by five other nations, including Egypt and the UAE to cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar, which they accuse of backing regional terrorism—charges which the emirate nation denies.

The move to disrupt imports has reportedly led to food shortages in the gas-rich nation. Factories in Qatar, which until the action imported 80% of its supplies from the participating countries, have been working around the clock to process increased fresh food imports from non-Arab nations.

Qatari finance minister Ali Sherif al-Emadi has claimed, however, that there has not yet been a serious impact on supplies of food or other goods.

Nevertheless, shipments of fruit and vegetables have been arriving from Iran. The nearby nation has this week delivered 90 tonnes of food by plane, and plans a further 350 tonnes by ship, according to Iran’s official Tasnim news agency.

It is not known if the air shipment was in the form of humanitarian aid from Iran or a delivery of goods purchased and imported by the Qatari government.

Though it said it will remain neutral in the dispute, Morocco has also pledged to send planes carrying food to Qatar to boost supplies, and has offered to mediate in the stand-off.

This decision was made in conformity with Islamic precepts that call for solidarity and mutual aid between Muslim people, notably during the holy month of Ramadan​,” the Moroccan foreign ministry said in a statement.

Turkey has also waded into the argument, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denouncing the action as “inhumane and against Islamic values​”. Local reports suggest that supermarkets have begun to stock more Turkish products onto shelves.

Oman, meanwhile, has launched two new direct shipping services to Doha to replace routes that have traditionally stopped off at Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port.

Related news