UK think tank: Regional instability threatens food security in Persian Gulf

November 11, 2013 03:43

Instability in Egypt and Iranian threats to block the Strait of Hormuz are serious risks to food security in the Gulf, according to a report by a British think tank.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries depend on imports for 80-90 percent of their food, and most of it has to be brought in through two shipping routes that could close due to regional conflicts or political pressure, London-based Chatham House warned.

With over 80 percent of the Gulf's wheat coming through the Suez Canal and 80 percent of its rice supply brought in through the Strait of Hormuz, the most vulnerable countries are the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait, the study said.

Iran threatened in 2012 to block the Strait of Hormuz if it came under attack, as tensions rose with the West last year over Tehran's disputed nuclear program.

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