Qatar crisis: the 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: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

After cutting all transport ties with Qatar, Saudi Arabia says the rift is a bigger political issue than airspace rights and cannot be resolved at the UN's aviation agency, June 16, 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 (Read more here). Al Jazeera on June 8 reported a massive cross-platform cyberattack.

Here are the latest developments in the crisis:

June 19, Monday

Qatar won't negotiate until economic boycott ends

Qatar will not negotiate with Arab countries that have cut economic and transport ties with it unless they lift their measures against Doha, Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani said.

"Qatar is under blockade, there is no negotiation. They have to lift the blockade to start negotiations," he told reporters. "Until now we didn't' see any progress about lifting the blockade, which is the precondition for anything to move forward."

Turkish troops hold exercises in Qatar in show of support

Qatar held military exercises with Turkish troops on Monday, demonstrating one of its few strong alliances after more than two weeks of ostracism and economic isolation imposed by neighbours.

Qatar's state-funded pan-Arab news channel Al Jazeera showed footage of a column of armoured personnel carriers moving through the streets.

Qatar's diplomatic isolation could "last years":  UAE 

A senior United Arab Emirates (UAE) official said powerful Arab neighbours could continue to isolate Qatar "for years" if it did not change course in its policy of supporting extremists and militant groups.

Speaking to a small group of reporters in Paris, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said a list of grievances Arab nations had with Qatar would be completed in the next few days, and that Doha needed to move beyond its state of "denial".

Gargash also urged Turkey, which has been supportive of Qatar, to remain balanced in the crisis and understand that it was in its interest to support Arab efforts.

Qatar hits out at neighbours as rift enters the third week

Qatar hit out at four Arab nations for cutting diplomatic ties and transport links over Doha's alleged support for terrorism, accusing them of a "publicity stunt" aimed solely at attacking its image and reputation.

"The blockade has been ongoing for two weeks and the blockading nations have offered no formula for resolving the crisis," Qatar's Government Communications Office Director Sheikh Saif Bin Ahmed al Thani said in a statement.

June 18, Sunday

Turkish troops have arrived in Qatar for long-planned joint military exercises, Al Jazeera reported.

The channel posted a video on its website of a column of armoured personnel carriers moving through streets. It said the troops had arrived on Sunday.

Turkey's parliament on June 7 fast-tracked legislation to allow troops to be deployed to a military base in Qatar, two days after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Doha in the worst diplomatic crisis in the region in years.

Kuwait's ruler calls for Gulf unity

Kuwait's ruler called on Gulf Arab states to overcome a diplomatic dispute with Qatar that has led to the worst regional split in years, saying all parties had a duty to preserve regional unity.

Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad al Jaber al Sabah, who is leading mediation efforts in resolving the Qatar crisis, said he hoped it could be solved through dialogue.

For more on Sunday's developments click here.

TRTWorld and agencies