Qatar Stronger Than Ever a Year After Blockade, Minister Says

(Bloomberg) -- A year after Qatar’s neighbors imposed a blockade over its alleged involvement in sponsoring terrorism, Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah said the small, gas-rich Gulf state has emerged stronger than it was before.

Speaking Sunday to the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue security conference in Singapore, Al-Attiyah said the blockade had aimed to weaken Qatar’s economy and position in the world, but had failed. “In the year since the blockade was imposed our production of national product, including medicine and food have grown exponentially,” he said.

The International Monetary Fund said last month the blockade had proved “manageable” for Qatar, with growth forecast to reach 2.6 percent this year, up from 2.1 percent in 2017.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Emirates cut off economic and diplomatic ties with Qatar starting June 5 last year, making a range of demands from cutting support to the Muslim Brotherhood, to closing the Al Jazeera television network and downgrading relations with Iran.

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