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The New Arab

Saudi-led blockade made Qatar stronger, says former senior official

Attiyah accused neighbouring UAE of "political hypocrisy" [TNA]

Date of publication: 12 November, 2017

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Qatar's former deputy prime minister has said a Saudi-led blockade against Doha has strengthened the gas-rich Gulf emirate.

Qatar's former deputy prime minister has said a Saudi-led blockade against Doha has strengthened the gas-rich Gulf emirate.

Abdullah bin Hamad made the remarks in a lengthy interview with The New Arab published on Sunday.

"Qatar has achieved a real miracle with its handling of the crisis and was able to adapt to it within weeks. They thought they the blockade would lead to the collapse of the Qatari economy," Attiyah said.

"But the opposite has happened, we are thankful for the crisis because we have learned a lot. Qatar will never be the same again even after this is settled. We must rely on ourselves," he said.

"Our brothers stabbed us during the night in the holy month of Ramadan, how can we ever trust them again?" he added.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt began a blockade on Qatar in June, accusing it of supporting "extremism" and being too close to Iran - charges Doha has denied.

The bloc has shut down air, maritime and land links with Qatar, and imposed economic sanctions.

But despite the spat, Qatar has announced several multi-billion dollar military deals with the US, Italy and Britain.

Attiyah accused neighbouring UAE of "political hypocrisy".

"How can Abu Dhabi accuse Qatar of 'terrorism', while it buys large quantities of gas and pays Qatar hundreds of millions of dollars a month?" the former senior official asked.

"This shows their political opportunism and hypocrisy. Abu Dhabi knows that 30 percent of its electricity production relies on Qatari gas," he said.

"If there was an earthquake on Mars the media in the quartet would blame it on Qatar," he added.

This week, Qatar Airways bought a stake in Cathay Pacific, giving the Doha-based airline a toehold in the potentially lucrative Asian aviation market.

The state-owned Gulf carrier said it had acquired a 9.6 percent stake in Cathay, which would make it the third largest shareholder in the Hong Kong airline.

Bloomberg News said the deal was worth $662 million.

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