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

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

Here are the latest developments in the crisis:

June 16, Friday

Erdogan has teleconference with Qatar and France

Turkish President Erdogan has discussed the recent gulf crisis with his his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Al-Thani on Friday.

Speaking via teleconference, the three leaders agreed stay in close cooperation, and keep the dialog to end the current crisis.

Turkey continues its shuttle diplomacy in region

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu visits the Saudi capital Riyadh and meets King Salman and the Saudi government as part of Ankara's ongoing efforts at mediation of the dispute.

Djibouti accuses Eritrea of occupying space vacated by Qatari peacekeepers

Djibouti's Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf accuses neighbouring Eritrea of occupying disputed territory along their border after Qatar withdrew its peacekeepers.

"Qatari peacekeepers withdrew on June 12 and 13. On the same day there were Eritrean military movements on the mountain. They are now in full control of Dumeira Mountain and Dumeira Island," Youssouf said, referring to areas the neighbours both claim.

June 15, Thursday

Gulf rift bigger than air rights, can't be resolved at ICAO: Saudi

Saudi Arabia, one of four Arab states that have cut ties with Qatar, said that the rift was a bigger political issue than airspace rights and could not be resolved at the UN's aviation agency.

Saudi Transport Minister Suleiman al Hamdan told International Civil Air Organisation (ICAO) members "this is something that's bigger than the ICAO," according to the source, who declined to be identified as the talks are confidential.

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

May urges Qatar, Saudi and Bahrain to ease tensions

British Prime Minister Theresa May urged the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar to take steps to reduce tensions that have led the Arab world's biggest powers to cut ties with Qatar.

"The prime minister raised the ongoing isolation of Qatar in the Gulf region, calling on all sides to urgently de-escalate the situation, engage meaningfully in dialogue, and restore Gulf Cooperation Council unity at the earliest possible opportunity," a spokesperson for May said in a statement.

Saudi King should resolve Gulf rift during Ramadan: Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Saudi Arabia's King Salman to resolve the rift with Qatar before the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to an interview with Portuguese state broadcaster RTP.

Erdogan also said that Muslim countries should not be imposing sanctions on fellow Muslim nations.

Fighter jets deal shows deep US support: Qatar

A $12 billion deal to buy US F-15 fighter jets shows Qatar has deep-rooted support from Washington, a Qatari official said, despite President Donald Trump's repeated accusations that Doha supports terrorism.

The fighter jet deal came amid increased diplomacy to try to resolve the crisis.

Iraqi PM Abadi postpones visit to Saudi Arabia

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al Abadi postponed a trip to Saudi Arabia to avoid taking sides in the crisis between the Kingdom and Qatar, Iraqi officials said.

Wednesday's planned visit was postponed "so that it would not be considered as supporting one side against the other," Jabbar al Abadi, a lawmaker close to the prime minister, said.

For more on Thursday's developments click here.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies