Qatar says Gulf citizens can stay despite crisis

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Iranian officials said Sunday that tonnes of vegetables had been sent from Iran to Qatar since the measures were taken against it. Some 11,000 people from the three nations are believed to be in Qatar.

State media reported late Saturday Doha would "not take any measures against residents of Qatar who hold the nationalities of countries that severed diplomatic ties. on the back of hostile and tendentious campaigns against the country".

Qatar yesterday moved to avoid an escalation of the feud, telling citizens of its Gulf neighbours that they are welcome to stay.

Iran yesterday said it had sent four cargo planes of food to Qatar and plans to provide 100 tonnes of fruit and vegetables every day, amid concerns of food shortages.

The decision will come as a relief to the more than 11,000 people from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain living in Qatar.

Qatar's foreign minister expressed desire for constructive relations with Iran after several Persian Gulf Arab countries and Egypt cut their diplomatic ties with Doha. Previously, Qatar had been importing around 80 percent of its food from its bigger neighbors, Reuters estimated.

Mohammed Al Sada said in a statement: "Circumstances in the region shall not prevent the state of Qatar from honouring its global commitment of cutting its oil production".

"Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are toying with the lives of thousands of Gulf residents as part of their dispute with Qatar, splitting up families and destroying people's livelihoods and education", the London-based human rights watchdog said.

The political dispute has led to air links being cut and Qataris banned from visiting the three countries.

Additionally, Qatar Airways is now using longer routes to its European and North American destinations, including direct flights to the world's busiest worldwide airport in Atlanta, after Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt barred Qatari flights from their airspace.

Meanwhile, Qatar has paid $2.5 million to the law firm of a former attorney-general under U.S. president George W. Bush to audit its efforts at stopping terrorism funding, a matter at the heart of the Gulf diplomatic crisis that erupted last week. The FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, said he was confident the "region will return to a normal situation" and the current crisis would not affect the staging of football's World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

President Trump has also accused the Qatari government of funding terrorist groups. But the panic-driven long lines and hoarding seen earlier in the week was gone.

"When it comes to terrorism, Qatar has never supported terrorism, Qatar does not support terrorism, Qatar will not support terrorism", Al-Qahtani said. "Some patriotically placed Qatar's flag in front of their houses, and there was a sense the diplomatic dispute could create long-term animosities".

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