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.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and several other Sunni-majority countries have severed relations with Qatar since June 5, accusing the Gulf state of supporting terrorism. (File Photo)
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and several other Sunni-majority countries have severed relations with Qatar since June 5, accusing the Gulf state of supporting terrorism. (File Photo)

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 with 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 28, Friday

Qatar refuses to 'outsource foreign policy' in Gulf crisis

Qatar refuses to bow to Saudi-led demands to "outsource" its foreign policy to resolve the Gulf crisis, its government spokesman said.

Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed al Thani, who holds ministerial rank, accused Doha's adversaries in the crisis of meddling in Qatar's internal affairs.

"What's behind this crisis, of course, is Qatari sovereignty and independence to put it very simply. It is about ... outsourcing our foreign policy so that decisions are not made in Qatar, and that is something that will never be acceptable," he said.

However, "we have said it from the start, we are open to dialogue, we are open to negotiating. The first step should be lifting the illegal blockade."

Qatar hires US based firm for image building

Qatar has hired a Washington influence firm founded by former top campaign aides to President Donald Trump and another specialised in digging up dirt on US politicians.

According to documents filed at the US Justice Department, Qatar has hired Avenue Strategies Global for $150,000 a month to "provide research, government relations and strategic consulting services."

Analysts say this sends a signal that Doha wants to challenge Saudi Arabia's massive lobbying efforts in America's capital amid a diplomatic dispute among Arab nations.

Hiring a firm once associated with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who left it in May over a dispute with his partners, shows Qatar wants access to a White House with close ties to Saudi Arabia.

Qatar seeks options at UN to overcome Gulf rift

Qatar's foreign minister on Thursday accused Arab states of violating international law in their boycott of the country and described the UN as the "right place" for Doha to seek options to overcome measures imposed against it.

"The entire campaign represents a series of violations of international law," Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani told reporters after meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

"The state of Qatar is not going to spare any effort in order to overcome those violations and try to solve it through the right channels. The UN is the right platform to start from," he said without giving further details.

For more on earlier developments click here.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies