NEW DELHI: Last month, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed sanctions and severed diplomatic and travel ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and being an ally of regional foe Iran, charges that Qatar denies. Observers expected the country would reel from the sanctions, but it’s getting by just fine. Here are 10 things to know about how Qatar is getting by despite the blockade:
1) Immediately after the sanctions, worried residents rushed to grocery stores, emptying shelves of dairy products and other food imports, because Saudi Arabiahad sealed Qatar‘s only land border, as part of the sanctions.
2) That didn’t last long, as store shelves were quickly restocked. Grocery stores are now brimming with meats and cheeses thanks to imports from Europe and Turkey, which stepped up supplies to beleaguered Qatar. In addition, Qatar set up five new shipping routes – two to Oman, two to India and one to Turkey, to circumvent the problems caused by the sanctions.
3) Even the tourism sector is still flourishing. Luxury hotels like the W and St. Regis continue to serve lavish meals around the clock and alcohol flows freely for visitors. Famous Barcelona soccer players Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba met with fans last week at a mall in the capital, Doha, which will host the 2022 World Cup.
4) With an economy heavily reliant on imports, Qatar has done its best to not allow its neighbours’ sanctions dissuade its larger international intake from other cooperating countries like Australia. Just last month, the country’s main port received as many as 4,300 cars from there.
5) In addition, Qatar has already flown in around 165 Holstein cows from Budapest, the first of 4,000 cattle that will be imported by August from Hungary, the US, Australia and Germany, reported CNN. This is to prevent any possibility of a milk shortage in the country.
6) Qataris also claimed back their camels stranded in Saudi Arabia due to the sanctions. Qatari farmers’ ability to make their daily wage was severely hampered and they managed to reclaim their camels under what the owners said was an informal deal with Saudi border guards.
(With inputs from Agencies)