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Qatar row leaves businesses uncertain about deals

Wednesday, June 07, 2017 - 01:39

Qatar is in talks with Iran and Turkey to secure food and water supplies amid concerns of possible shortages two days after its biggest suppliers, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, cut trade and diplomatic ties with the import-dependent country. As Sonia Legg reports, a senior UAE official has also said more punitive measures on Qatar, including further curbs on business, remain on the table.

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Confusion and uncertainty for businesses across the Arabian Gulf. The sudden political freeze has put question marks on billions of dollars of existing deals. Banks, in particular, are awaiting guidance on what the diplomatic row means for regional lending -- and if they should close out their exposure to Qatar. SOUNDBITE: Peter Dixon, Global Financial Economist, Commerzbank, saying (English): "It is a relatively small economy. It is dependent, very heavily, on its links to its neighbours. So by cutting off links in the way that many of the Gulf countries have done, I think this does pose significant risks for the Qatari economy. But again, I think we'll have to wait and see whether there's a political resolution to this." For now, Qatar's neighbours are continuing to tighten the screws. The UAE has banned all Qatari nationals from travelling to or transiting through the country. Abu Dhabi also says anyone expressing sympathy for Doha could face fines or jail time. As its residents stock up on supplies fearing shortages, Qatar says it's in talks with Turkey and Iran about securing extra food and water. That echoes support from President Erdogan. SOUNDBITE: Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish President, saying (Turkish): "We are doing and we will do everything we can to resolve this crisis. I hope that all sanctions against Qatar will be lifted as soon as possible because I believe that classifying Qatar as a terror suspect is a severe accusation." On Monday, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain severed ties with Qatar. They accuse it of supporting terrorism -- an accusation Doha denies.

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Qatar row leaves businesses uncertain about deals

Wednesday, June 07, 2017 - 01:39