Over 1,500 firms seek ‘siege compensation’

 25 Oct 2017 - 0:02

Over 1,500 firms seek ‘siege compensation’

By Mohammad Shoeb / The Peninsula

Over 1,500 private companies and businesses have filed complaints seeking compensation for damages caused due to the ongoing siege imposed by some of Qatar’s neighbouring countries, a top official of Qatar Chamber (QC) told The Peninsula.

Qatar formed a Compensation Claims Committee on July 9 to pursue compensation for losses stemming from the economic and diplomatic siege against Qatar by four Arab countries on June 5.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani (pictured), Chairman of QC, said: “Out of the over 1,500 applications received so far seeking compensation, about 800 cases have already been reviewed and submitted to the committee for legal action.”

Commenting on the magnitude of the damages and the chances of the winnability of cases, Sheikh Khalifa, added: “The damages are to the tune of billions of dollars. I have the estimated figures for the losses, but we are still receiving applications and the figure is growing. As far the chances of success is concern, it would be too early to comment on that. But what I can say is that our cases are very-very strong.”

About the details and nature of damages, he said that losses are of different types. They are not only limited to confiscation of Qatari vessels laden with millions of dollar worth of goods, or the extra amount of money companies are required to pay for sourcing goods and services from alternative destinations due to the siege.

“It is also about losses in business opportunities companies suffered due to the siege. A lot of companies have commitments with Qatar, for instance finishing projects in certain time period at a given cost, but they are facing constraints due to the blockade. A lot of companies used to source materials, manpower resources, and many other things from the blockading countries, whose supplies were abruptly suspended by the siege countries without prior notice or any valid reason,” he said.

About the details of the courts Qatar is approaching, Sheikh Khalifa said that it is for the Committee and the lawyers to decide. The Committee is dealing with international law firms to take legal action in appropriate courts, which can include courts based in the US and Europe.

“The Committee has appointed lawyers, and we will go everywhere possible to seek justice”, noted the chairman of Qatar’s oldest and largest private industry representative body. Commenting on the possibility of participating in the upcoming meetings of the Federation of Gulf Cooperation Council Chambers (FGCCC), he said Qatar will attend all meetings irrespective of the presence or absence of the representatives from the blockading countries.

“The next meetings of GCC Chambers are expected to be held next month, or in December, in Muscat (Oman’s capital). We will attend every GCC and the League of Arab States’ meetings. If the blocking countries do not want to participate, it’s up to them… In fact we already participated in a meeting of GCC Chambers in Azerbaijan last week,” Sheikh Khalifa stressed.