Trucks carrying food for Qatar are now lining up across the border in Saudi Arabia, unable to enter the country amid a diplomatic row between it and Arab nations, Al Jazeera has reported. Qatar relies on food trucked in from Saudi Arabia across its sole land border.
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Saudi Arabia announced Monday it would close its land border to Qatar, part of it cutting diplomatic ties to the country along with Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, who accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism.
Doha News, a local news website in Qatar, reported some citizens and residents of the energy rich country already had begun swarming grocery stores. It said some stores had begun seeing their shelves empty over fears that the crisis could see groceries run out of products.
"Customers could be seen piling their carts high with supplies of milk, water, rice and eggs at several popular grocery stores today," Doha News reported.
One Doha journalist, Zab Mustefa, tweeted a picture of a number of empty supermarket shelves on Monday, apparently as a result of the border closure.
Meanwhile, an Iranian official says his country can export food to Qatar by sea, as Saudi Arabia and three other nations move to isolate the gas-rich nation.
The semi-official Fars news agency quoted Reza Nourani, chairman of the union of exporters of agricultural products, as saying Monday that food shipments sent from Iran can reach Qatar in 12 hours.
Iran and Saudi Arabia are regional rivals who back opposing sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen.
A diplomatic rift between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors may cost the countries involved billions of dollars by slowing trade and investment and making it more expensive for the region to borrow money as it grapples with low oil prices.