Gulf and Qatar crisis updates

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The latest news after some of the Gulf states and Egypt cut ties with Qatar and imposed a land, sea and air blockade.

The latest developments since several countries, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, cut ties with Qatar on June 5. (All times local Doha time).

1:50am – HRW delegation meets Qataris affected by blockade

  • A delegation from Human Rights Watch has met with officials from Qatar’s National Human Rights Council (NHRC) and Qatari citizens affected by a blockade imposed by a Saudi-led bloc of neighbouring countries against Qatar.
  • During the meeting, which took place at the NHRC’s headquarters, the delegation was informed about the legal and humanitarian consequences resulting from the moves against Qatar.
  • A large number of Qatari citizens listed their complaints, including violations of their right to education, right to own property, right to mobility and the right to family reunion. The NHRC says it has so far received more than 1,750 complaints.

11:36pm – Sudanese president in Saudi for talks on Gulf rift

  • Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir has arrived in Saudi Arabia for talks with Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz on the Gulf crisis and means of resolving it
  • Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said that Bashir will reiterate his support to the Kuwaiti mediation efforts to solve the crisis, stressing that Khartoum will exert all efforts to bridge the gap between the GCC states.

11:06pm – EU calls for ‘direct dialogue’ in Gulf crisis

  • The European Union has urged Gulf countries to “de-escalate the tensions and to engage in direct dialogue” and called for “no unilateral steps” following a major diplomatic fallout in the region.
  • “Any difficulty, any tension, can be and must be resolved at a table, discussing, in dialogue, finding common ways, and politically,” Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign affairs head, told reporters in Luxembourg on Monday.
  • “The region is already fragile enough, dangerous enough, and we are starting to see dangerous spill-overs already both in the broader region but also in Africa and in Asia,” she added.
  • “There are worrying signals, so we really invite all to find a way to solve any tension, any controversies, at a table, discussing through dialogue, politically, without exacerbating tensions. It is always possible and even more so has to be possible among countries that belong to the Gulf Cooperation Countries.”

10:05pm – Egyptian, Abu Dhabi leaders meet

  • Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan have met in Egypt’s capital, Cairo.
  • “Both sides stressed the importance of all Arab states and the international community fighting terrorism, especially stopping the funding of terrorist groups and providing political and media cover,” Sisi’s office said in a statement.
  • The statement did not refer to Qatar, which both Egypt and the United Arab Emirates blame for supporting armed groups.

7:55pm – How the Gulf crisis played out online

  • The recent short-term suspension of Al Jazeera Arabic’s Twitter account highlights the fact that a major part of the commentary, rumours and backlash on the Gulf crisis took place online.
  • Here is a look back at the tweets, hashtags and Instagram drama that dominated the ongoing Gulf tensions.

7:55pm – ANOC: Politics and sports must stay separate

  • The Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) on Monday expressed concern about the diplomatic crisis revolving around Qatar, saying that politics and sports must stay separate.
  • Switzerland-based organisation said: “ANOC today expressed its hope that the international sports movement  in Qatar would not be endangered by the geopolitical situation in the Gulf region.”
  • Qatar has hosted big sports events in recent years, as well last last year’s ANOC assembly. Future events in the country include the world athletics championships 2019 and the 2022 football World Cup.

7pm – Qatar to file complaint against two news channels

  • State-run Qatar News Agency instructed on Monday a law firm to file a formal complaint with Ofcom, Britain’s telecommunications regulator, against two news channels for their coverage of Qatar.
  • The British law firm, Carter-Ruck, will be raising concerns regarding Sky’s Abu Dhabi-based subsidiary, Sky News Arabia, and the Saudi-owned Dubai-based Al-Arabiya news channel.

6:10pm – Qatar Airways CEO: blockade will leave lasting wound

  • The top executive of Qatar Airways has warned that the blockade imposed on his country by neighbouring Gulf countries “will leave a lasting wound.”
  • Akbar Al Baker told The Associated Press news agency on Monday that he expected US President Donald Trump to intervene “to make sure that this blockade is lifted soonest…especially since he knows that we are part of his alliance against terrorism.”

5:45pm – Qatar FM: We won’t negotiate until blockade is lifted

  • Qatar’s foreign minister said that Doha will not negotiate with Arab states that have cut economic and travel ties with the country unless they reverse their measures.
  • “Qatar is under blockade, there is no negotiation. They have to lift the blockade to start negotiations,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told reporters in Doha on Monday.
  • “Until now we didn’t see any progress about lifting the blockade, which is the precondition for anything to move forward,” he said.

1:35pm – UAE minister says Qatar’s blockade could ‘last years’

  • Anwar Gargash, UAE’s minister of foreign affairs, said Qatar’s diplomatic isolation could “last years”.
  • “We do not want to escalate, we want to isolate,” Gargash told journalists during a visit to Paris.
  • Gargash added that Qatar must abandon what he called its support for “extremist Islamists” before a solution can be brokered.

1:30pm – Expulsion of Qataris from Gulf states comes into effect

  • The deadline for Qataris to leave neighbouring Gulf Arab states has come into effect as the diplomatic standoff persists despite multiple mediation efforts.
  • Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar on June 5 and announced that Qatari residents would have 14 days to leave. The deadline was Monday.
  • Officials later clarified there would be exceptions for mixed-nationality families in the Gulf.

11:15am – Iraq PM heads to Saudi Arabia to foster regional reconciliation 

  • Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is travelling to Saudi Arabia on Monday, in the first leg of a Middle East tour that will also include Iraq and Kuwait, his office said.
  • Abadi’s visit to Saudi Arabia aims to promote reconciliation between the two countries.
  • Abadi was due to visit Riyadh last week, but postponed his trip to avoid appearing to take sides in the diplomatic dispute.

9:36am – ‘100 complaints a day’: Qatar rights body highlights human cost of blockade

  • Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) said it has received more than “100 complaints a day” by people who have been affected by the ongoing rift between Qatar and the GCC states that have imposed a blockade on the country.
  • “In the first week we had 700 complaints. In the last four or five days the numbers have risen significantly,” NHRC’s Saad al-Abdulla told Al Jazeera.
  • The NHRC said many of the complainants have been forced to abandon businesses and careers built across borders.

8:34am – ‘GCC social-fabric being torn apart’

  • Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani, director of Qatar government’s communications office, said on Sunday that the humanitarian impact of the blockade imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia and its allies “is real”.
  • Al Thani said: “The social-fabric of [the]GCC population is being torn apart for political reasons and we will not allow ourselves to be a party to this injustice.”
  • He added that the countries that have imposed the blockade “are using terrorism as a publicity stunt”.

3:04am – Qatar economy minister: Business unaffected by blockade

  • Qatar’s minister of economy and commerce says trade in the country is running as usual despite a land, air and sea embargo imposed by a Saudi-lec bloc of neighbouring countries.
  • Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed Al Thani said in an interview with Qatar TV on Sunday that authorities responded quickly to the closure of the borders by getting products through sea and other means.
  • The minister called the moves against Qatar unjustified and said that many Qatari businessmen, who have warehouses and factories in the countries that imposed the blockade, are now finding it difficult to travel or manage their businesses.

12:05am – Turkish troops arrive in Qatar for military exercise

  • Qatar’s defence ministry says a group of Turkish soldiers have arrived in the capital, Doha, to take part in joint military exercises.
  • It said the forces conducted their first training at the Tariq bin Ziyad military base.
  • The exercises, which had been long planned, are part of a mutual agreement aimed at strengthening the defence capabilities of both sides, as well as boosting efforts to combat armed groups and maintaining stability in the region.

Read Complete Article: Al Jazeera

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