Date
21 September 2017
Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani speaks at a news conference in Doha on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters
Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani speaks at a news conference in Doha on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

Qatar braces for long standoff with neighbors

Qatar announced plans for a steep rise in Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) output capacity, indicating that it is bracing for a protracted dispute with Gulf neighbors even as it said it is doing all it can to reach an agreement and end the crisis.

In what appeared to be a show of strength, the state-owned Qatar Petroleum said on Tuesday that it aims to boost its LNG output capacity by 30 percent, Reuters reports.

Stepped-up production will boost the tiny Gulf state’s coffers, putting it in a better financial position to cope with the challenges of an economic boycott by some neighboring countries.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have severed diplomatic and transport ties with Doha in a dispute that has raised concern across the Middle East and beyond.

Officials from the countries are due to meet on Wednesday to decide whether to continue sanctions they imposed on Qatar on accusations it was aiding terrorism and courting regional rival Iran.

Doha denies the charges and has submitted to mediator Kuwait replies to 13 demands that the gathering will consider.

“What Qatar has given in goodwill and good initiative for a constructive solution, based on dialogue, we believe should be sufficient (to show) we have carried out our duties from our side,” Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told a news conference in Doha.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told the same Doha news conference he felt Qatar had shown restraint in the row which began on June 5.

Qatar says it is ready to meet any “reasonable” demands.

But the Gulf state may be reluctant to carry out conditions such as the closure of the al-Jazeera television station and removal of a Turkish military base – matters it considers impinge on Qatari sovereignty, Reuters noted.

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