Qatar-Gulf crisis: All the latest updates

Qatar-Gulf crisis: All the latest 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.

Summary

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).

10:00pm – Qatar rejects Saudi-led group allegations

  • A source at Qatar’s foreign ministry said that accusations from the Saudi-led anti-Qatar quartet regarding financing terrorism and interference in internal affairs of other countries amount to defamation.
  • “The State of Qatar is an active member committed to combating terrorism and its financing at regional and international levels. The international community attests to that,” said the source.

9:15pm – UNESCO receives complaints from Qatari students in anti-Qatar Gulf states

  • National Human Rights Committee in Qatar has submitted a report to UNESCO detailing the violations committed by educational institutions against Qatari students in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
  • NHRC Chairman Ali bin Smaikh Al Marri said that violations against students included preventing them from taking final exams, withholding certificates of graduation, closing their educational accounts and arbitrarily terminating their registration without giving reasons.
  • At least 85 violations against Qatari students were committed in the UAE, 29 violations in Saudi Arabia and 25 in Bahrain, according to the report.

8:45pm – UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrives in Saudi Arabia

  • Boris Johnson arrived in Saudi Arabia on Friday as part of a tour that will also take him to Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait in a bid to help ease Gulf tension.
  • “The Foreign Secretary will urge all parties to get behind Kuwait’s mediation efforts, which the UK strongly supports, and work towards de-escalation and Gulf unity for the sake of regional stability,” the foreign office said in a statement.
  • The statement also said that Johnson will discuss security and bilateral issues with a “particular focus on working together to address the common threats of extremism, radicalisation and terrorism.”

7:30pm – Oman orders trade of Qatari Riyal at official rate

  • The Central Bank of Oman ordered all local commercial banks and exchange companies to trade the Qatari riyal at the official exchange rate.
  • “The Central Bank of Oman will also accept Qatari riyals and provide exchange services if needed,” the bank said in a statement.

7:20pm – ‘Qatar is rich enough to face threats of the blockade’

  • Qatar’s Finance Minister Ali Sharif al-Emadi said that his country is rich enough to withstand threats of bloackade.
  • “We have sovereign wealth funds of 250 per cent of gross domestic product, we have Qatar Central Bank reserves, and we have a ministry of finance strategic reserve,” al-Emadi told The Times newspaper.

1:30pm – Mattis affirms US-Qatar cooperation: Pentagon

  • Jim Mattis, the US defence secretary, has reaffirmed America’s strategic security partnership with Qatar, the Pentagon said, amid a diplomatic crisis in the Gulf.
  • Qatar hosts a vital US-led command center at the Al-Udeid air base, where the anti-ISIL coalition launches raids against the jihadists.
  • Saudi Arabia is leading a four-country blockade of Qatar in the region’s biggest crisis in years. Mattis stressed the importance of de-escalating tensions “so all partners in the Gulf region can focus on next steps in meeting common goals,” the readout stated.

4:30am – Tillerson to travel to Kuwait

  • A US State Department statement late on Thursday said that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be travelling to Kuwait on Monday to discuss efforts to resolve the Gulf crisis.
  • Tillerson would visit Kuwait City following visits to Ukraine and Turkey and is expected to meet Kuwaiti officials who have been trying to mediate.

2:00am – Saudi-led group vows ‘appropriate’ measures

  • In a joint statement released late on Thursday, the Saudi-led group blamed Qatar for “continuing to seek to sabotage and undermine the security and stability in the Gulf region”.
  • “All political, economic and legal measures will be taken in the manner and at the time deemed appropriate to preserve the four countries’ rights, security and stability,” the statement said.

12:45am – US warns Gulf crisis could last for months

  • The US State Department warned that the Gulf crisis could “possibly even intensify”, Heather Nauert, spokeswoman for the state department, said on Thursday.
  • “We remain very concerned about that ongoing situation between Qatar and GCC countries.”

12:20am – Trump discusses Qatar-Gulf crisis with Angela Merkel

  • “President Donald Trump met Chancellor Angela Merkel in Hamburg, Germany, to coordinate on key policy areas ahead of Friday’s G20 summit,” a White House press release said.
  • “The leaders conferred on a range of shared foreign and security policy priorities, including … de-escalating the conflict between Qatar and some of its Gulf and Arab neighbors.”

11:00pm – Qatar’s defence minister discusses Gulf crisis with US defence secretary

  • Qatar’s Defence Minister Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah held a telephone conversation with US Defence Secretary James Mattis on Thursday.
  • Attiyah discussed the Gulf crisis with Mattis and reiterated Qatar’s backing for the efforts of Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to reach a resolution of the dispute through constructive dialogue, according to Qatar’s state news agency.
  • He also expressed Qatar’s appreciation for the US supportive stance for regional stability, stressing the depth of cooperation between the two countries in terms of combating and rejecting terrorism and violent extremism.

10:30pm – Egypt’s FM discusses Gulf crisis with Russian counterpart

  • Egypt’s foreign minister Sameh Shoukry held a phone conversation with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Thursday, discussing the dispute with Qatar.
  • The foreign ministry of Egypt said Shoukry reiterated his country’s rejection of Qatar’s “support of terrorism” – the allegation that Doha denies.

10:10pm – US warns Qatar crisis could last for months

  • The US state department has warned that the Gulf crisis between Qatar and its neighbors is at an impasse and could potentially drag on for weeks or even months.
  • The US believes the crisis could “possibly even intensify” said on Thursday Heather Nauert, the spokeswoman for the state department.
  • Nauert did not specify what type of escalation the US fears. But she said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson remains in close contact with the countries involved.
  • The US is praising Kuwait for trying to mediate a resolution, she said.

10pm – Tunisia’s former leader: Anti-Qatar bloc isolated itself

  • Former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki has said he believed that besieging Qatar is the last weapon at the disposal of regimes that have been trying for years to limit Qatar’s role and prevent it from being a political player.
  • In an interview with Qatari daily Al Sharq published on Thursday, Marzouki said those who wanted to isolate Qatar were exposed and have themselves become isolated.
  • Marzouki said Qatar is on the right side and the whole world supports it and trusts its ability to withstand the crisis, stressing that the Arab peoples sympathise with Qatar and the vast majority of countries, particularly African ones, are on Qatar’s side.
  • He said the battle against Qatar won’t be the last, noting that other battles are “on the horizon and no one knows what third or fourth siege will hit any country” where a new Arab political regime rises.

6:45pm – Saudi Arabia accuses Qatar of using Twitter to stoke dissent

  • Saudi Arabia, which is leading a four-country blockade of Gulf neighbour Qatar, on Thursday accused Doha of being behind over 23,000 Twitter accounts it blames for trying to stoke dissent in Saudi Arabia.
  • “We found over 23,000 Twitter accounts driven by Qatar, some of them linked to accounts calling for ‘revolution’ in Saudi Arabia,” Information Minister Awwad Saleh al-Awwad told AFP news agency during a visit to Paris.

4:53pm – World-beating wealth props up Qatar against sanctions

  • A month after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic, trade and transport ties with Qatar, accusing it of backing terrorism, it is suffering from isolation but is nowhere near an economic crisis, the Reuters news agency reports.
  • The alliance against it, meanwhile, may not have options to inflict further damage.
  • As the world’s top liquefied natural gas exporter, Qatar is so rich – at $127,660, its gross domestic product per capita in purchasing power terms is the highest of any country, according to the International Monetary Fund – it can deploy money to counter almost any type of sanction.
  • In the past month it has arranged new shipping routes to offset the closure of its border with Saudi Arabia, deposited billions of dollars of state money in local banks to shore them up, and drawn the interest of some of the West’s biggest energy firms by announcing a plan to raise its LNG output 30 percent.
  • The success of these initiatives suggests Qatar could weather months or years of the current sanctions if it has the political will to do so – and that further sanctions being contemplated by the alliance may not prove decisive.

4:40pm – Energy giants seek role in Qatar’s gas expansion despite Gulf crisis

  • Three of the West’s biggest energy corporations are lobbying Qatar to take part in a huge expansion of its gas production, handing Doha an unintended but timely boost in its dispute with Gulf Arab neighbours.
  • The chief executives of ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell and France’s Total all met Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in Doha before it announced a plan on Tuesday to raise output of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by 30 percent.
  • Company and industry sources told Reuters news agency that the CEOs had expressed interest in helping Qatar with its ambition to produce 100 million tonnes of LNG annually – equivalent to a third of current global supplies – in the next five to seven years.
  • Spokespeople from all three firms declined comment. However, a top executive from one energy major looking into expanding in Qatar said the huge business opportunity was worth the considerable political risk.

2:30pm – UN undersecretary Jeffrey Feltman in Doha

  • Qatar’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Sultan bin Saad Al Muraikhi, met with the United Nations undersecretary general Jeffrey Feltman in Doha.
  • During the meeting, Feltman expressed the UN’s concern about the continuation of the Gulf crisis. He also stressed UN support of the Kuwaiti mediation efforts to solve the crisis.

10:20am – Germany to help clear up Qatar accusations

  • Germany’s foreign minister says his country’s intelligence service will participate in efforts to clear up accusations by Arab neighbours that Qatar supports “terror groups”.
  • Gabriel told Deutschlandfunk radio Thursday there was an agreement for Qatar to “open all its books” to Germany’s intelligence service “if we have questions about certain people or structures”.
  • The minister said he no longer sees the risk of a military escalation in the standoff despite an angry reaction on Wednesday from the four Arab nations to Qatar’s response to their demands. Gabriel said that, while the reaction sounded harsh, many demands were no longer mentioned.

8:00am – Watch: What’s next in the gulf crisis

  • Al Jazeera’s Senior Political Analyst Marwan Bishara projects scenarios on the ongoing Gulf crisis.
  • There are limited choices for the four countries that are blockading Qatar as the military option appears to be off the table and diplomatic pressure on Qatar will split the Gulf Cooperation Council, he says.

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