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Qatar's ruler hopes Gulf crisis will end for sake of region

Reuters  |  DOHA 

By Eric Knecht

(Reuters) - Qatar's ruler voiced hope on Tuesday the country's bitter dispute with and its Arab allies would pass, saying it had harmed regional security by weakening a bloc.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and cut transport and trade ties with in June 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism and their foe denies the charges and says the boycott aims to undermine its sovereignty.

"History teaches us that crises pass, but if they are handled badly then this may leave traces which last for a long time," Sheikh said in a speech to the country's consultative

"It is very regrettable that the continuation of the Gulf crisis exposed the failure of the (GCC) ... which has weakened its ability to face challenges and threats and marginalised its role in the region," he said, urging the bloc to adopt dispute resolution mechanisms.

The United States, an ally of the six-nation Sunni Muslim GCC, sees the rift as a threat to efforts to contain Shi'ite and has pushed for a united Gulf front.

and the UAE have repeatedly said the dispute is not a top priority and assured it will not affect defence cooperation.

recently appeared to soften its tone on as the kingdom faces its worst political crisis in decades, over the murder of at its consulate in Istanbul, which has strained Saudi ties with the West.

TINY BUT WEALTHY

The said Qatar's economy had emerged stronger from the sanctions and that the state continued to support vital projects, including preparations to host in 2022 and to develop industries to maintain its position as the world's largest liquefied

has moved to attract investors and new trade partners as it builds an economy less reliant on its neighbours, easing restrictions on foreign ownership of stocks and property.

grew its exports by 18 percent last year and slashed spending by 20 percent under a conservative fiscal policy, while preserving the value of its currency, the said, forecasting the budgetary surplus would increase in coming years.

He told the that Doha would push ahead with economic diversification plans to ensure and water security but continue to build on its already powerful

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

(Additional reporting by in Dubai; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Andrew Roche)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, November 06 2018. 17:22 IST
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