Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said the Saudi-led siege had harmed regional security by weakening a Gulf Arab bloc.

The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani addressed the Consultative Assembly on Tuesday and voiced hope that the country’s dispute with Saudi Arabia and its partners would soon end.

According to Reuters, the Emir said the blockade – held by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt – had harmed regional security by weakening a Gulf Arab bloc.

“History teaches us that crises pass, but if they are handled badly then this may leave traces which last for a long time,” he said.

“It is very regrettable that the continuation of the Gulf crisis exposed the failure of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) … which has weakened its ability to face challenges and threats and marginalized its role in the region,” he added, calling for the bloc to adopt dispute resolution mechanisms.

During his 17-minute speech the emir also discussed economic growth, plans for the energy industry and infrastructure projects.

The emir said Qatar’s economy is strong and continues to push forward with major projects including preparations to host the World Cup in 2022 and to develop oil and gas industries to maintain its position as the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter.

Qatar continues to push forward with a self-sufficient economy, one that is less reliant in its Arab neighbours and which will continue to attract investors and new trade partners.

The emir said Qatar grew its exports by 18 percent last year and cut spending by 20 percent under a conservative fiscal policy, while preserving the value of its currency.

He added that Doha would push forward with economic diversification plans to ensure food and water security while continuing to build on its already powerful energy sector.

“Qatar’s objectives in diversifying the economy and reducing its dependence on oil and gas does not ever mean neglecting the oil and gas sector as a fundamental source of wealth,” he said.

The announcements follow the emir’s cabinet reshuffle on November 4th, where he put experienced executives and younger royals in top positions. Sources say the move is another step in the country’s plan for a forward-thinking and progressive nation.


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