230 days

Seven months ago, an air, sea and land blockade was imposed on Qatar by neighbouring countries. Here are the latest developments as of Sunday, January 21:

2022 World Cup

  • On Friday, the secretary-general of Qatar’s World Cup organising committee Hasan al-Thawadi rejected the claim that some FIFA 2022 World Cup matches could be played elsewhere in the region.

  • qatar airways

    “Qatar is the sole host country of the 2022 World Cup and will host the 64 matches of the tournament across eight planned venues,” Thawadi told the AFP news agency in a statement.

Qatari royal held in UAE

  • On Friday, Qatari local media released an audio recording of Sheikh Abdullah dating back to January 15, a day after his video statement.
  • In the recording obtained by Al Jazeera, Sheikh Abdullah said: “The Gulf crisis is based on interests and the desire of both Mohammed bin Zayed and Mohammed bin Salmanto usurp the wealth and riches of Qatar.”
  • Sheikh hospitalised. On Tuesday, Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani was transferred to a hospital shortly after his arrival to Kuwait. He was seen in a wheelchair when he arrived in Kuwait from the UAE.
  • Family confirmed. Also on Tuesday, the family of the Qatari royal confirmed his arbitrary detention, according to Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee.
  • UAE denied. On Sunday, the UAE’s Foreign Ministry confirmed Al Thani’s presence in the UAE, but denied holding him against his will and said he was free to move as he wishes, according to WAM news agency.
  • On Sunday, Sheikh Abdullah released a video statement saying he was “a prisoner” in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, and that if anything happened to him, “Sheikh Mohammed” is responsible.

Anti-Qatar propaganda

  • On Thursday, NBC News reported that SCL Social Limited – a data firm that worked for the Donald Trump campaign – recently filed paperwork showing it helped spread negative information about Qatar.
  • According to the agency, SCL filed documents showing that the United Arab Emiratespaid it $333,000 for a social media campaign linking Qatar to “terrorism”.

Qaradawi’s sentence

  • On Wednesday, the Egyptian-born head of the Doha-based International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), Yusuf al-Qaradawi, was reportedly charged with “incitement to murder”, “spreading false news” and “vandalising public property” in an Egyptian court.
  • In November 2017, two Islamic organisations headed by al-Qaradawi were added to a “terror list” drawn up by four Arab countries blockading Qatar.

Qatar defence meetings

  • Defence minister UK trip. On Wednesday, Qatar’s Ministry of Defence reported that the defence minister, Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah, while in London, discussed the Gulf Crisis and joint efforts by the UK and Qatar in “combating terrorism and extremism” at the UK parliament.
  • On Tuesday, the Qatari defence minister met the UK’s Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson in London. The two discussed defence and military cooperation between Qatar and the UK.
  • Qatar-Nato agreement. Also on Tuesday, Qatar signed a security agreement with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) at their headquarters in Brussels.
  • This security agreement provides the framework for the exchange of classified information. Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE have also signed individual security agreements with NATO.

El Salvador – Qatar relations 

  • Three-day visit. On Tuesday, El Salvador’s Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez, who is on a three-day visit to Doha, met Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.
  • During the meeting, the two sides discussed bilateral relations and the possibility of reaching an agreement to allow Salvadoran migrants who are forced to leave the United States to work in Qatar.
  • Direct flights. On Monday, El Salvador and Qatar also signed an agreement that opens the possibility of creating an air route between the two nations as Qatar seeks to expand its flights to Latin America.

En encuentro entre cancilleres de El Salvador🇸🇻 y Qatar se abordaron temas de interés bilateral en el campo político, económico y de cooperación. #Cancillerí

— RREE El Salvador🇸🇻 (@cancilleriasv) January 16, 2018

UAE: Qatar intercepted two flights

  • ICAO complaint. On Wednesday, the head of the UAE’s civil aviation body said it would file a complaint to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) about “two serious incidents” and will “ask for the intervention of the council to stop Qatar from repeating the act”.
  • On Monday, the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) accused Qatari fighter jets of having intercepted two of its aircraft en route to Manama.
  • Qatar denied. Qatar’s foreign ministry quickly denied the claims by the UAE as a “systematic attack” by the country to draw attention away from its violations of Qatari airspace.

Donald Trump calls Sheikh Tamim

  • On Monday, US President Donald Trump thanked Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani for “action to counter terrorism and extremism in all forms”, the White House said in a statement that suggested a warming of ties between the two countries.

Turkey-Qatar relations 

  • On Tuesday, Doha hosted the Turkey-Qatar Business Forum to boost bilateral trade and ease transportation through Iraq and Iran.
  • “We want to create a mechanism which makes transportation easier and provides a transit pass via Iraq between the two countries,” Turkey’s customs and trade minister Bulent Tufenkci said.
  • Emir’s trip. On Monday, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani arrived in Turkey to meet the Turkish president, as first reported by the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT).
  • In November, Erdogan had visited Qatar to attend the third meeting of the Turkey-Qatar Supreme Strategic Committee.
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