Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs has claimed that the island state will not look to mitigate the blockade of Qatar, Gulf News reported yesterday.
“With what we see from the Qatari regime, there is no way of reconciliation considering the time that we are in, the conspiracies, interventions, the abuse and the lack of respect to commitments,” insisted Khalid Bin Ahmad Al-Khalifa at the opening session of the Arab Media Forum in Dubai. “There is no way.” He went on to say that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is not “dependent on Qatar.”
Along with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Bahrain accuses Qatar of supporting extremism and terrorism. Qatar categorically denied the allegations as baseless, yet a blockade levied last June continues to this day. The allegations also focus on Qatar’s relatively close relations with Iran, with which tensions exist for the blockading quartet.
Qatar has been banned from using the airspace and territorial waters of a number of the blockading countries, which has led to a rise in import costs; vegetables, for example, have doubled in price.
In a move to show its resolve, last month Qatar launched a five year plan to become self-sufficient in food and sustainable use of renewable energy. The 2018 to 2022 plan seeks to satisfy 30 per cent of its demand for farm animals and 65 per cent of its demand for fish domestically.
Earlier this week, a Qatar-based agricultural company, Agrico, announced that it will obtain an additional 1 million square metres of land to increase local vegetable production. The project includes four farms in total, adding to the 120,000 square metres of organic farmland that the company already operates in Qatar.
The small Gulf State has punched above its weight and is not only surviving the blockade but the impact seems to be “fading”, according to the International Monetary Fund’s preliminary assessment last month. No state has to-date been successful in mitigating the rift with Qatar.