“Right now our economy is doing very well and our financial reserves are doing very well and we are very well positioned and ready for new investments,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said.
Qatar has signaled that it is ready to increase its international investments and donations to bolster its overseas standing in the face of the continuing embargo by its Gulf neighbours.
According to the Financial Times, Qatari officials called for the 18-month blockade against it be lifted during the recent Doha Forum.
Speaking at the conference, Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said the only way to resolve the crisis between Qatar and the blockading countries was by the others “lifting the siege and resolving difference through dialogue and non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs”.
Saudi Arabia initiated the blockade – along with the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt – in June last year, accusing the country of supporting terrorism and forging close ties with Iran. Qatar continuously denies the allegations and international calls for a resolution to the dispute are growing.
Despite the siege, Qatar has continued to prosper and has encouraged a more self-sufficient economy to build and grow. As the nation prepares to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, the government redirected staple goods and building materials from Saudi Arabia and the UAE via Turkey, Iran and Oman. The country has also opened new direct trade links to keep down costs.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the minister for foreign affairs, said there had been no breakthrough at the recent meeting of the Gulf Co-operation Council.
There is no progress yet happening with the blockade,” he said, indicating that any gesture towards reconciliation had to come first from the blockading states, in particular from Saudi Arabia. What can be required from Qatar as a gesture? Qatar was the subject of this attack now for more than 18 months. Qatar was the victim. Qatar wasn’t the one who attacked any of the blockading states, Sheikh Mohammed said.
The minister added that although Qatar was willing to enter a dialogue with the other states, “the only thing you need to understand before you come to the table is that our sovereignty is not a subject for negotiation”.
In order to maintain international relations and to build a better future, Qatar has stepped up its efforts to demonstrate it is an important provider of finance to advanced economies and to global efforts to combat terrorism. Qatar has pledged US$500m to various agencies of the United Nations, including US$28m annual package for the UN Development Programme, US$5m a year for the UN Children’s Fund and US$15m a year for the UN Security Council’s counter-terrorism committee.
Our aim is to have a diversified fund geographically and diversified in terms of asset class, Sheikh Mohammed said.
“Right now our economy is doing very well and our financial reserves are doing very well and we are very well positioned and ready for new investments,” he said. “We have been focused in the last years in real estate, equities and especially in financial services. Now we are looking more at sectors like technology, healthcare and infrastructure where we see we need to put more attention,” he added. State-owned Qatar Petroleum has also said it would invest US$20bn in the US over the next few years after Doha decided to quit the Saudi-dominated oil producer group Opec. Qatar is also the largest exporter of LNG in the world with a growing number of partnerships in the pipeline.