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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Qatar admits it is close to Iran since boycott

But Doha's differences with Tehran over Syria remain, foreign minister says

The Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani attends the 36th Session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland September 11, 2017. Denis Balibouse / Reuters
The Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani attends the 36th Session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland September 11, 2017. Denis Balibouse / Reuters

A regional boycott of Qatar over its links to terror groups is pushing it closer to Iran economically, the country's foreign minister said on Monday.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar on June 5 over accusations it was supporting terrorist and extremist groups. The quartet also accused Qatar of increasingly close relations with Iran.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman stressed at a meeting in Paris that Qatar still had political differences with Iran, including over Syria.

The political crisis, now in its fourth month, has driven a deep rift between Qatar and its Arab neighbours.

Qatar is considering opening up trade routes through Iran to bring in Turkish products and circumvent the boycott.

Iran and Turkey became the two major suppliers of Qatar’s food imports after the quartet severed ties with Doha and suspended air, sea and land links.