Qatar announced on Saturday that it will ban goods originating from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates almost a year after the four Arab counties cut off diplomatic and economic relations with the small wealthy country on accusations of it supporting terrorism.
Qatar’s Ministry of Economy ordered shops to immediately remove goods originating from the three Gulf countries and Egypt. Inspectors will visit stores to ensure orderly implementation, the ministry said.
“Products originating from the blockading states, which as a result of the blockade cannot pass the GCC Customs Territory, has to undergo proper import inspections and customs procedures,” Qatar’s Government Communications Office (GCO)’s statement read.
It added that the government made the decision in order “to protect the safety of consumers in the State of Qatar and to combat improper trafficking of goods.”
The three Gulf states and Egypt cut diplomatic and economic ties with the gas-rich country on 5 June last year, closing their sea and land borders, and imposing a trade boycott. They accused Qatar of supporting terrorism, destabilising the region, and having close ties with Iran. Qatar has repeatedly rejected the accusations.
The four countries presented, on 22 June, a list of 13 demands to end the crisis, including shutting down Al-Jazeera, ending Turkey’s military presence in Qatar, severing all ties to “terrorist organisations,” handing over “terrorist figures,” as well as curbing diplomatic ties with Iran, all of which Qatar rejected.
The gas-rich nation, which previously relied on its Gulf neighbours, found itself forced to import basic goods from other countries such as Iran and Turkey. It was also expelled from the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.
The sudden gesture came just two weeks after US President Donald Trump’s historic visit to Saudi Arabia, during which he called on Arab countries to “drive out” terrorists and extremists. Trump praised the cutting of ties with Qatar, saying it would be “the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism.”