Iran offers to export food to Qatar by sea as residents rush to stock supplies

Updated on Jun 06, 2017 09:58 PM IST
The Arab world’s strongest powers cut ties with Qatar over alleged support for Islamists, re-opening a wound two weeks after US President Donald Trump’s demand for Muslim states to fight terror.
A man walks past the Qatar Airways branch in the Saudi capital Riyadh, after it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia following a severing of relations between major Gulf states and Qatar.(AFP Photo)
A man walks past the Qatar Airways branch in the Saudi capital Riyadh, after it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia following a severing of relations between major Gulf states and Qatar.(AFP Photo)
Agencies, Doha | By

An Iranian official said his country can export food to Qatar by sea, as Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations moved to isolate the gas-rich nation after severing diplomatic ties and accusing it of supporting terrorism.

The semi-official Fars news agency quoted Reza Nourani, chairman of the union of exporters of agricultural products, as saying on Monday that food shipments sent from Iran can reach Qatar in 12 hours.

Qatar shares its only land border with Saudi Arabia, and relies heavily on food imports, much of it from Gulf countries.

Al-Jazeera reported that trucks carrying food for Qatar were now lining up across the border, unable to enter the country.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are regional rivals who back opposing sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen.

Shoppers in Doha were taking no chances despite Qatari officials reassuring residents there was no need to panic after Saudi Arabia imposed a de facto food blockade.

Multiple queues up to 25-people deep formed in Carrefour supermarket in Doha’s City Center mall, one of the busiest shopping areas in the Qatari capital, hours after seven Arab states cut diplomatic ties with the emirate.

Shoppers piled trollies and baskets high and shelves were stripped of essentials such as milk, rice and chicken.

Among the hundreds of shoppers desperately searching for staple goods was Azir, a Sri Lankan who went to the store when relatives called him from home after watching the news on television.

“I was asleep. My family phoned me and woke me up from Sri Lanka,” he said, his trolley full of nappies for his 18-month-old child.

“I came because of the crisis.”

Qatar imports goods such as chicken from Saudi Arabia, and locals quickly took to social media on Monday to complain they would have to eat poultry from Oman instead.

Ernest, from Lebanon, said he knew he had to go shopping because others would rush to the shops.

“It’s a cycle of panic and I needed to get pasta,” he said, as he shopped with his young family -- pushing not one but two trollies.

The story was the same across town at one of the several Monoprix stores, where staff said it had been one of the busiest days at work they had known.

In the nearby Al-Meera supermarket, shoppers again packed the store, including Denis from Germany who was convinced that the crisis was just a temporary storm.

‘Just a yellow card’

“This is just a yellow card,” he said of the country due to host football’s 2022 World Cup.

“What can they do? It is one of the richest countries in the world.”

To try to avoid widespread panic-buying, Qatar’s government issued a statement claiming that shipping routes and airspace will remain open for imports.

The “Qatari Government will take all necessary measures to... thwart attempts to influence and harm the Qatari society and economy,” the statement said.

One sector of the economy which could be badly hurt is exports, including goods such as machinery, electronic equipment or livestock transported by road to Saudi Arabia.

According to the United Nations, Qatari exports to Saudi Arabia totalled $896 million (796 million euros) in 2015.

The severing of ties is also potentially bad news for the service industry, including hotels and cab drivers in Doha.

Saudis usually flock to Qatar on holiday during Eid al-Fitr at the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

But with a travel ban now imposed by Riyadh, takings could be down for many south Asian cab drivers who rely heavily on tourists.

“This is very bad news, very bad news,” said Raihan, a driver from India. “All Saudis come here for Eid.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • FILE - In this photo, a People's Liberation Army member looks through binoculars during military exercises as Taiwan's frigate Lan Yang is seen at the rear on Aug. 5, 2022. China on Wednesday, Aug. 10, reaffirmed its threat to use military force to bring self-governing Taiwan under its control, amid threatening Chinese military exercises that have raised tensions between the sides to their highest level in years. 

    China reaffirms threat of military force to annex Taiwan

    Taiwan holds live-fire military drill to 'prep for invasion' by China In an additional response, China said it was cutting off dialogue on issues from maritime security to climate change with the U.S., Taiwan's chief military and political backer. Taiwan's foreign minister warned Tuesday that the Chinese military drills reflect ambitions to control large swaths of the western Pacific, while Taipei conducted its own exercises to underscore its readiness to defend itself.

  • Legacy of the discredited Rajapaksas, the billion dollar airport has turned out to be white elephant and is a symbol of failed BRI in Indian sub-continent.

    BRI loses steam, no fresh Chinese investment post-Covid pandemic

    Nine years after it was launched by President Xi Jinping, the Belt Road Initiative appears to have lost steam with virtually no new Chinese investment in third countries post-Covid pandemic. Bangladesh Finance Minster AHM Mustafa Kamal has publicly blamed economically unviable Chinese BRI projects for exacerbating economic crisis in Sri Lanka.

  • Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower, late Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, in New York. 

    Did Trump break the law? FBI search raises fresh questions

    The year was 2016, the presidential candidate under investigation was Hillary Clinton and the FBI director at the time, James Comey, laid out the factors the Justice Department weighs in deciding whether to charge someone with mishandling classified records. Whether an FBI search of another candidate from that election, Donald Trump Mar-a-Lago residence is a prelude to criminal charges is unknown. Multiple federal laws require the safekeeping of government secrets.

  • President Joe Biden poses for a photo with Vice President Kamala Harris, left, Karin Olofsdotter, Sweden's ambassador to the US, second from left, and Mikko Hautala, Finland's ambassador to the US, right, after signing the Instruments of Ratification for the Accession Protocols to the North Atlantic Treaty for the Republic of Finland and Kingdom of Sweden in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

    Joe Biden formalises US support for Finland, Sweden joining Nato

    The countries sought out Nato membership earlier this year to guarantee their security in the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin's offensive in Ukraine. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization's rules require the consent of all of its 30 existing members before Finland and Sweden can officially accede into the alliance, which is expected in the coming months.

  • Albuquerque Police Deputy Chief of Investigations Cecily Barker holds a flyer with photos of a car wanted in connection with Muslim men murdered as Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham looks on in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal via AP)

    Suspect in killing of four Muslim men arrested in New Mexico

    Muhammad Syed, 51, an Albuquerque resident, was formally charged with two of the homicides: those of Aftab Hussein, 41, and Muhammed Afzaal Hussain, 27, killed on July 26 and August 1, respectively, but he is considered a suspect in all four murders, city Police Chief Harold Medina said at a news conference.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now