Qatar seeks compensation over Arab blockade — Even While Qatar’s central banker boasts $340B in reserves — “All our books, they are open”

Qatari attorney general says country would pursue compensation claims against rivals Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates

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Qatar’s attorney general Ali bin Fetais al-Marri Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Qatar sought to apply pressure to the four states laying siege to its economy on Sunday by saying it had set up a special committee to pursue multi-billion compensation claims against them.

The announcement by Qatar’s attorney general threatens to add a further costly legal dimension to the battle between Qatar and its rivals Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt.

The four countries in dispute with Qatar have already themselves demanded compensation from Doha for what they allege was past interference in their internal affairs. The demand is one of 13 made by the quartet – part of a major power struggle that has torn apart the west’s key Gulf allies.

The Qatari attorney general said the compensation claims would be made on behalf of the businesses affected by the land and air embargo imposed by the four countries. The four insist they are mounting only a boycott and not a blockade. Qatar’s attorney general, Ali bin Fetais-al Marri, said he had set up a central committee to collate claims.

The US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, will visit the region on Monday to see if he can add to the mediation work already being led by Kuwait.

The UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, spent the weekend shuttling between the major regional capitals urging both sides to de-escalate the dispute.

decision is expected at the high court in London on Monday on whether the UK is in breach of its arms export licence laws for giving the go-ahead to the UK defence industry to sells arms to Saudi.

The Campaign against the Arms Trade has brought a judicial review claiming the UK government should have suspended arms sales on the basis there was a serious risk the Saudis would use the arms in the war in Yemen in breach of international humanitarian law.

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Qatar’s central banker boasts $340B in reserves, says country not worried about the current boycott

  • “We’re not guilty,” Abdullah Saud Al-Thani told CNBC in an exclusive interview Sunday
  • Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain are leading a boycott against Qatar
  • Abdullah Saud Al-Thani told CNBC that while the bank has noticed money outflows from some non-residents, the size of them wasn’t particularly significant

The governor of Qatar’s central bank believes the country’s economy will be able to fully withstand any financial shocks brought on by the dispute in the Gulf, and welcomed outsiders to investigate its accounts and money flows.

“We’re not guilty,” Abdullah Saud Al-Thani told CNBC in an exclusive interview Sunday. The central banker referred to the accusations placed by other Arab nations that accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism.

“We have no challenges, we welcome those to review all our books, they are open,” he added.

Qatar still finds itself excluded and singled out by its near neighbors. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain are leading a boycott against Qatar, and since last month have severed diplomatic and transport ties.

Qatar's central bank governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani attends a meeting with other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) central bank chiefs in Kuwait City on March 24, 2010. GCC central bank chiefs are meeting to discuss progress towards regional monetary union.

YASSER AL-ZAYYAT | AFP | Getty Images
Qatar’s central bank governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani attends a meeting with other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) central bank chiefs in Kuwait City on March 24, 2010. GCC central bank chiefs are meeting to discuss progress towards regional monetary union.

Doha denies charges that it supports terrorism, and denies that it has allied itself with regional foe Iran. Qatar is now seeking compensation for damages from the blockade. On Thursday evening, the four Arab nations released a joint statement pledging new political, economic and legal steps against Qatar, according to Reuters.

Still, the country’s central banker dismissed the allegations that have beset the country.

“Qatar has already had a good and unique system. We have laws established against all these kinds of terrorists ,” Al Thani told CNBC. “We work with the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and other institutions to establish our laws and audits and reviews.”

Qatari stock markets have sunk lower on the boycott and the country’s currency—the riyal—has seen wild fluctuations, while credit ratings agencies have warned on a period of uncertainty for the nation.

However, Al-Thani told CNBC that while the bank has noticed money outflows from some non-residents, the size of them wasn’t particularly significant.

“There is more [money] coming in,” he said, confirming that inflows are exceeding the outflows.

Speaking at the bank’s headquarters in Doha, he said that the Qatar Central Bank had $40 billion in cash reserves plus gold. In addition, the Qatar Investment Authority has $300 billion in reserves that it could liquidate, he said. He also spoke of long-term contracts in the gas and oil sectors that were not seeing any disruptions.

“This is the credibility of our system, we have enough cash to preserve any – any kind of shock,” he said.

“So we don’t believe that there is anything to worry about at this moment. What I can say is that our environment is proof to anybody that we are first of all solid, strong and resilient against any kind of shocks,” he added.

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/09/qatar-hoard-of-340-billion-and-gold-bullion-means-its-not-worrying-about-the-current-boycott.html

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