Qatar crisis: latest developments

Led by Saudi Arabia, several states in the Middle East and Africa have severed ties with Qatar since June 5, accusing the gas-rich Gulf state of supporting terrorism and Iran. Qatar denies the allegations.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Qatar's foreign minister has accused four Arab neighbours, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain of "clear aggression" against his country as his counterparts met in Cairo to weigh further measures against the Gulf country.

Updated Jul 9, 2017

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and several other Sunni-majority countries have severed relations with Qatar since June 5, accusing the Gulf state of supporting terrorism based on its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Taliban.

Another point of departure is Qatar’s ties with Iran, with whom it shares one of the world’s biggest gas fields.

Qatar has denied the accusations and called the collective decision "unjustified." Kuwait, Turkey and the US have all urged a political solution as the bloc isolates Qatar using various ad hoc sanctions, including shutting down their airspace to Qataris and blocking import routes.

The dispute began in May when Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani was reported to have made statements on the state news agency supporting Iran. Doha said the statements were fabricated and disseminated via a hack.

Here are the latest developments in the crisis:

July 9, Sunday

Qatar seeks siege compensation for firms and citizens

Qatar announced on Sunday that it was establishing a committee to pursue compensation claims potentially worth billions of dollars over the country's blockade by Gulf states.

Attorney General Ali bin Fetais al-Marri said the Compensation Claims Committee would deal with cases including major companies, such as Qatar Airways, and individual Qatari students who have been expelled from the countries where they were studying.

"This committee will receive all claims, whether from the public sector, private sector or individuals," Marri told journalists at a press conference in Doha.

July 8, Saturday

Qatar rejects latest threats by "siege countries"

Qatar hit back at a threat by four "siege countries" to impose further sanctions on the emirate over its refusal to bow to their ultimatum for ending the Gulf crisis.

In a statement attributed to a senior foreign ministry source, a defiant Qatar said the demands of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain were defamatory.

"The State of Qatar expressed regret over the content of the two statements issued in Cairo and Jeddah by the four siege countries and the false accusations included in them that amount to defamation in contradiction with the established foundations of international relations," read the statement.

Meanwhile, Britain's Foreign Minister Boris Johnson arrived in Saudi Arabia and was to meet top Saudi and UAE officials, in a bid to ease tension in what has become the Gulf's deepest rift in years.

July 7, Friday

Arab states pledge new measures against Qatar

The Arab states leading the boycott against Qatar said that they would enact new measures against Doha after the latter's refusal to accept their list of 13 demands.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain released a joint statement late Thursday pledging new political, economic and legal steps against Qatar.

Any measures taken by the four states would be aimed at the Qatari government but not its people, they said, without elaborating on when the new steps would be announced or what they would entail. 

July 6, Thursday

Qatar Airways joins major Middle East carriers in lifting of US laptop ban

Qatar Airways said on Thursday that passengers travelling to the US can now carry their laptops and other large electronics on board, ending a three-month in-cabin ban on devices for the Doha-based airline.

Qatar Airways joins Emirates, Turkish Airlines and Etihad Airways who have also announced this week the lifting of the US ban of electronics on their flights.

Qatar Airways said in a statement early on Thursday the ban had been lifted after the airline and its hub airport Hamad International met with all new US security requirements.

July 5, Wednesday

Turkish president slams Arab demands against Qatar

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday reaffirmed Turkey's support for Qatar in its dispute with four other Arab states, saying their demands against the tiny Gulf nation were unacceptable.

Doha rejected the 13 demands set forth by the Saudi-led bloc to end the embargo.

"When it comes to this list of 13 items ... it's not acceptable under any circumstances," Erdogan said in an interview with France 24 television.

Some of the terms were tantamount to "stripping" Qatar of its statehood, he added.

Among their demands is for Qatar to end an accord under which Turkey maintains a military base in the Gulf state.

"We remain loyal to our agreement with Qatar. If it requests us to leave, we will not stay where we are not wanted," he said through an interpreter, adding there had been no such request.

Saudi-bloc disappointed with Qatar's response to demands

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt refrained from slapping further sanctions on Qatar but voiced disappointment at its "negative" response to their demands and said their boycott of the tiny Gulf nation would continue.

The foreign ministers met in Cairo after a deadline they gave Qatar to meet 13 demands expired. They had been expected to consider further sanctions at the gathering but announced no new measures.

"The response the four states got was overall negative and lacked any content," Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said, reading out a joint statement after the meeting.

"The political and economic boycott will continue until Qatar changes its policies for the better," Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir said.

Qatar's response to the demands has not been made public.

Qatar readies for long stalemate

Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani, at London's Chatham House think-tank, said that Doha was continuing to call for dialogue to settle the row. He suggested Qatar was preparing for a more protracted rift.

"What we've done in the last few weeks is develop different alternatives to ensure the supply chain for the country not to be cut off."

Qatar announced on Tuesday that it planned to raise liquefied natural gas (LNG) production capacity by 30 percent in the next five years.

For more on previous developments click here.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies