Qatar is an important base for the US military carrying out operations against Daesh militants and other groups in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and beyond.
Qatar is an important base for the US military carrying out operations against Daesh militants and other groups in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and beyond.

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 air space 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 (Read more here). Al Jazeera on June 8 reported a massive cross-platform cyberattack.

Here are the latest developments in the crisis:

June 15, Thursday

Turkey's FM to visit Saudi Arabia

Turkey expects Saudi Arabia's King Salman to lead an effort to resolve the Qatar crisis, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday, adding that imposing sanctions and embargoes would not help remedy the situation.

Cavusoglu will be heading to Saudi Arabia on Friday to hold talks on the Qatar dispute.

ICAO Montreal meeting

Gulf states and Egyptian transport ministers are meeting at the UN aviation agency's headquarters in Canada, in what is their first direct talks since a diplomatic row erupted last week that led to the economic blockade of Qatar.

International Civil Aviation Organisation (or ICAO) - a UN agency that regulates international air travel under the Chicago Convention - said that the talks would seek a "consensus-based solution" that addressed "current regional concerns."

Qatar had asked ICAO to intervene after its Gulf neighbours closed their airspace to Qatar flights.

ICAO has rarely intervened in disputes between states, especially involving overflights, which are governed by a separate international agreement from the Chicago pact that created the UN aviation agency.

Fifa World Cup

Qatar said on Thursday that its rift with fellow Gulf Arab states has not affected its preparations to host the 2022 World Cup, adding that alternative sources for construction materials had been secured.

"I can confirm to everybody that there is absolutely no impact on the progress of work in the Mondial facilities and that work is proceeding normally," said Ghanim al-Kuwari, executive director at the Qatari committee overseeing preparations for the World Cup.

International Olympic Committee

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Thursday that it hoped the diplomatic and economic boycott of Qatar by its Gulf neighbours would not affect sports development in the region.

"In the world of sport we remain politically neutral and continue our relationships with all the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) in the region," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said.

June 14, Wednesday

US sells $12 million worth of weapons to Qatar

Qatar's Ministry of Defence said on Wednesday the country signed a deal to buy F-15 fighter jets from the United States for $12 billion.

The deal was completed despite the Gulf country being criticised recently by US President Donald Trump for supporting terrorism.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and representatives from Qatar met on Wednesday to seal the agreement, a source familiar with the deal told Reuters. Bloomberg News reported the deal was for 36 jets.

The sale will increase security cooperation and interoperability between the US and Qatar, the Pentagon said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

Turkish foreign minister urges peace and dialogue

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday the crisis between Qatar and some Arab countries should be resolved "through peace and dialogue."

Speaking to Anadolu Agency during his visit to Qatar's capital, Doha, amid a diplomatic row in the Gulf region, Cavusoglu said the efforts by Turkey so far and the future steps to be taken were discussed during his meetings with several top Qatari officials.

Accompanied by Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, Cavusoglu met with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani and Economy and Trade Minister Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim al Thani.

"The situation we have been going through in this [holy month of] Ramadan is a really undesired one. There is such a crisis between sister countries, and there are some steps that directly affect people. We must absolutely overcome it. We need to overcome it through peace and dialogue," Cavusoglu said, underlining that Turkey was contributing to the peace process.

Cavusoglu also said he would visit Kuwait later on Wednesday and meet Saudi Arabian king Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud on Friday in Mecca.

For more on Wednesday's developments click here.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies