*Govt has plans to tap new continents
*Disruptions to supplies already overcome
*Preparations for World Cup fully on track
Qatar has built strong resilience as it opens up new trade lines and the sovereign wealth fund - one of the world’s largest – seeks new investments abroad, HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani has said.
Qatar’s economy has been growing faster than expected despite a boycott by Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries, he explained in an interview during the World Economic Forum.
"Defying expectations it would shrink, our investment fund is seeking new investment opportunities... and tapping new continents. We have plans for Africa, which we will launch soon, and next year we have plans for the Central Asian region."
"The government has already overcome the disruptions which happened to supplies at the beginning of the crisis and we have introduced alternative routes. There is no disruption at the moment," he said, while also referring to the opening of the new Hamad Port.
Regarding the FIFA 2022 World Cup, Sheikh Mohamed expressed confidence that Qatar can host the event successfully and preparations are fully on track.
"We are confident we will host the best World Cup in the Arab world. It will represent the whole Arab region," he asserted while adding he had heard no signals from FIFA that it was planning to change the venue of the World Cup.
The diplomatic crisis, in which Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt have boycotted Qatar, erupted last summer when the four countries cut diplomatic, transport and trade ties with Qatar, accusing it of financing terrorism.
Riyadh also accuses Qatar of cosying up to the kingdom's arch-rival Iran. Qatar rejects the charges and says it is being punished for straying from its neighbours’ backing for authoritarian rulers.
Sheikh Mohamed said Qatar still counted on strong support from US President Donald Trump to help solve the crisis and had filed legal complaints with Western regulators against what it sees as currency and market manipulations by its neighbours.
"The information we had that there is something wrong being committed within our financial markets and these complaints are taking their due process and there are legal steps Qatar is taking," he said.
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister was of the view that the crisis was negatively affecting security co-ordination across the entire Gulf region.
"This undermines our collective effort in combating terrorism. Our officers are not allowed to go to the (US) Fifth Fleet, their (Saudi and UAE) officers' seats are vacant in Doha while their flags are there," he said, referring to the US Navy in the Gulf and the US base near Doha.
If the dialogue with its neighbours resumes, the countries should work out a new strategy for co-existence based on respect for one another's sovereignty, he added.
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