Dubai - The chief of one of the world's busiest water corridors, the Suez Canal, says Egyptian authorities can't ban Qatari ships from crossing the vital waterway.
Suez Canal chairperson Mohab Mamish, a retired navy admiral, said in a statement on Friday that the canal authorities are abiding by the government's severing relations with Qatar.
However, international treaties prevent them from barring Qatari ships from using the canal as a passage. He said Qatari ships will be barred from using Egyptian ports and the canal's economic zone.
Egypt along with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have accused Qatar of harboring Islamic extremism. The four countries cut diplomatic ties and severed air, land and sea links with the World Cup 2022 host early last month.
Around 10% of the world's trade flows through the waterway, which links the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, allowing vessels to avoid sailing around Africa. The canal is one of Egypt's top foreign currency earners and is seen as a symbol of it's the country's modernity.