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Qatar in talks with Iran to provide food



An official in Doha says Qatar has started talks with Iran and Turkey to secure food and water supplies after its biggest regional suppliers – Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – cut trade and diplomatic ties with the country earlier this week. 

“We are in talks with Turkey and Iran and other countries,” Reuters quoted the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject.

The supplies would be brought in through Qatar Airways cargo flights, the report added.

The official said there were enough grain supplies in the market in Qatar to last four weeks and that the government also had large strategic food reserves in Doha, Reuters reported.

Other reports earlier said food had started to disappear from the shelves of stores in Doha, the Qatari capital, immediately after Saudi Arabia – which provides above 90 percent of Qatar’s food supplies – shut its borders with the country.

On the other hand, a top Iranian agricultural official was quoted by the domestic media as saying on Monday that Iran could send food shipments to Qatar by ship.

Seyyed Reza Nourani, the head Agricultural Products Exporters and Importers Association of Iran, was quoted by news agencies that shipments to Qatar would take 12 hours to reach Qatar.

Qatar has also been using Iran’s air space after the diplomatic crisis with Saudi Arabia and several other regional Arab states broke out.

An Iranian transportation official was quoted by media as saying on Tuesday that Qatari flights bound to North Africa and Europe that used to cross Saudi, Egyptian or Kuwaiti airspace can now travel over Iran, Iraq and Jordan. Flights to Northern Europe can cross Iran. The official said Iran’s air traffic would increase 20 percent, as would its revenue from fees for use of its airspace.

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