Here is how the Qatar-Gulf crisis played out day by day up to December 23:
QCB reserves increase. The Qatar central bank’s international reserves and foreign currency liquidity rose slightly in November, official data showed on Sunday.
- The reserves and liquidity, a measure of the central bank’s ability to support the riyal currency, increased to $36.9bn last month from $36.1bn in October.
- Qatar, Saudi deny “coup” report. Qatar’s embassy issued a statement on Wednesday denying Turkish media reports of Turkish soldiers foiling an attempted military coup staged by Saudi Arabia. The embassy said the reports were baseless.
- Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Ankara issued a similar statement denying the report.
- Kuwait says GCC to keep operating despite crisis. Despite the spat the GCC’s work “will not be frozen or disrupted,” Khaled al-Jarallah, the deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday.
- Kuwait is expected to hold a conference that will bring together parliament speakers from the Gulf region on January 8 and 9.
- Turkey sends new soldiers to Qatar. On Tuesday, a group of Turkish soldiers arrived at a military base in Doha, according to Qatar’s Defense Ministry.The soldiers will join another group which previously arrived at Tariq bin Ziyad military base in the Gulf state.
- Qatar’s emir concludes West Africa tour. On Monday, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani concluded his trip around West Africa to Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, and Ghana.
- “In Ghana, we have laid down the basis for a broader partnership, along with HE President Nana Akufo-Addo, paving the way to important bilateral projects in vital areas such as air transport, sport and food security,” the Emir tweeted.
- Qatar stocks fell in 2017. Bloomberg reported on Sunday that Qatar’s stock exchange index is near its lowest in eight years, down by 18 percent in 2017.
- Qatar won’t compete in chess tournament.Qatar will not compete in the World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships hosted by Saudi Arabia in Riyadh from December 26-30.
- According to the Qatar Chess Federation, their top national team will not compete in the tournament, because the organisers demanded that “the players not display the Qatari flag at any stage during the competition”.
#Qatar has signed an agreement for the education of 600,000 children in support of #Mali gov. efforts in the fight against terrorism. We believe that education is crucial for tackling the root causes of terrorism.
— محمد بن عبدالرحمن (@MBA_AlThani_) December 24, 2017
- 36 fighter jets.The US Department of Defense has announced on Friday that Boeing has been awarded a $6.2bn contract to manufacture 36 F-15 fighter jets for Qatar’s air force.
- Saudi footballers shun media. Politics has overshadowed football after Saudi Arabia’s team refused to talk to the press on Thursday due to the presence of Qatar-based news channels, including Al Jazeera.
- Gulf Cup begins. The 23rd edition of the tournament that was to be held in Qatar starts on December 22 in Kuwait. The tournament will see Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain and the UAE competing for the title.
- Kuwait’s Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Minister of Commerce and Industry Khaled al-Roudhan welcomed on Thursday the arrival of missions of all GCC member states to the football cup as “the most important sign of success”.
- Saudi permanently closes land border. According to a document issued by Saudi Arabia’s customs directorate on Tuesday, the Salwa border gate has been permanently closed since Monday night.
- Qatar’s finances boosted. The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) is seeing a surge in business as Qataris register more of their assets at home and multinationals boost their local presence, its chief executive Yousuf al-Jaida told Reuters.
- This reflects nervousness among the country’s elite that investments registered abroad could be frozen, as well as a desire by international companies to maintain close ties with the world’s biggest liquefied gas producer, the chief executive said.
- QCB launches investigation. “We will not stand by while our country is attacked in this manner,” Qatar’s central bank governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al Thani said on Tuesday, according to Reuters, adding that the central bank had hired New York-based law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP to lead the investigation.
- Qatar celebrates National Day. Qatar celebrated its National Day on Sunday amid the ongoing Gulf diplomatic crisis.
- In a show of support for Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar set a new Guinness World Record on Sunday for having the highest number of people take part in the creation of a portrait of him dubbed the ‘Dignity Image’, Qatar’s Interior Ministry announced.
- Amnesty International calls for end to siege. The human rights group said on Saturday that the blockade on Qatar is “arbitrarily splitting up families” across the Gulf region.
- US official accuses Qatar and Turkey. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry responded to Wednesday to remarks made against it by US National Security Advisor HR McMaster.
- At a think-tank on Tuesday, McMaster accused Qatar and Turkey of having become the “main sponsors” of “radical Islamist ideology”.
- Turkey dismissed the allegations as “baseless” and called on the US to “cease all forms of cooperation with terrorist groups such as YPG”.
- Qatar budgets for blockade. Released on Tuesday, Qatar’s 2018 budget plan projects higher spending on supporting food security projects.
- Qatar’s Finance Minister said that Qatar was determined never again to leave itself as vulnerable as it was in the initial weeks of the blockade, Reuters reported.
- UAE official discharged. Yousef Al Serkal, president of the UAE General Sports Authority, was discharged from his position on Tuesday, according to local media.
- UAE’s local media had earlier criticised Al Serkal over a video that showed him hugging a Qatari official.
- Qatar, UK sign fighter jet deal. BAE Systems and Qatar have entered into a contract valued at around $8bn for the country to buy 24 Typhoon combat aircraft, the British defence group said on Sunday.
- Gulf cup to be held in Kuwait. “On the basis of consultations between the leaderships of both countries it has been agreed to transfer the Gulf Cup tournament to Kuwait,” Qatar Football Association president Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Thani said on Friday, according to local media.
- Bahrain and the UAE confirmed their participation in the tournament, which will be held in Kuwait between December 22, 2017 and January 5, 2018.
- Kuwait Football Association denied reported withdrawal of the Saudi football team nor any other team from the Gulf Cup.
- Macron visits Al-Udeid Air Base. A video published by AFP shows French President Emmanuel Macron arriving in Qatar and visiting the Al-Udeid Air Base on Thursday.
- President Macron also said he backs mediation efforts led by Kuwait to end the blockade, “with regards to the situation in the Gulf, I want to see a promise of reconciliation between its members”.
- Summit closes one day early. The GCC summit concludes on Tuesday, instead of Wednesday as originally planned, and all delegations left after the closed session.
- Although it will be Oman’s turn to host next year’s GCC summit, Omani Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs Yusuf bin Alawi says on Wednesday that the summit will be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
- Kuwaiti emir says GCC structure might have to change. The structure of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council may have to change in the near future to “have mechanisms to better face challenges”, Sheikh Sabah said on Tuesday.
- The Kuwaiti emir referenced the possibility of setting up a task force to help deal with future rifts within the GCC.
- The Kuwaiti leader said his country will continue mediating in the dispute. “Our meeting today is a reason to continue the mediation, which fulfills the ambitions of our people,” Sheikh Sabah said.
- ‘Future of GCC in doubt’. Commenting on concerns about the current state of the GCC, Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal, reporting from Kuwait City on Tuesday, said the council’s future “is very much in doubt” as a result of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain continuing to “rebuff efforts by Kuwait to try and find some sort of mediation to the crisis”.
- Our correspondent added that despite assurances given to the Kuwaitis that high-level delegates would be sent to the summit, “Saudi Arabia has chosen to send not even a member of the royal family but their foreign minister. Bahrain has sent a third-rate politician, their deputy prime minister, and the UAE hasn’t sent a significant minister either.”
- Delegations arrive in Kuwait. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar’s emir, arrives at the GCC summit in Kuwait on Tuesday.
- Sayyid Fahad bin Mahmood al-Said, Oman’s deputy prime minister, arrives at the GCC summit. He tells reporters upon arrival that Oman “profoundly expresses its appreciation of the efforts of Kuwait and its leadership to bridge the gap, coordinate positions and align viewpoints amongst member states in order to address all developments,” according to the Qatar News Agency. Oman’s ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said, has given the efforts his “full backing”, he adds.
- The Saudi delegation to the GCC summit, which will now be concluding one day earlier, will be led by Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubair. King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud will not attend.
- UAE and Saudi Arabia start a separate partnership. United Arab Emirates (UAE) announces that it has formed a new economic and military partnership with Saudi Arabia separate from the GCC.
- GCC summit begins. Kuwait’s News Agency reports the beginning of the 144th GCC foreign ministers meeting at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait City on Monday.
- The 38th GCC summit will begin in Kuwait City on Tuesday as a blockade by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) against member state Qatar continues, six months on.
- A press conference has been scheduled for 10:30am local time (07:30 GMT) on Wednesday, December 6.
- Attendees are expected to arrive at the summit from 11:30am local time (08:30 GMT).
- Only Qatar and Oman have so far confirmed their participation in the summit. Qatar said Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir, will attend. Oman said it will be represented by a high-level delegation.
- Citing a diplomatic source, the Anadolu news agency said that Saudi Arabia‘s King Salman will also attend the GCC summit, while Oman ‘s News Agency said that its Deputy Prime Minister Sayyid Fahad bin Mahmood al-Said will attend the summit instead of Sultan Qaboos.
- The talks were attended by Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, Omani Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs Yousef bin Alawi, Bahrain’s Assistant Foreign Minister Abdullah Al-Dosari, the UAE’s State Minister Anwar Qarqash and Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Thani.
- Qatar and Saudi to participate in the summit. “I will attend the ministerial council tomorrow and the emir will attend the summit,” news agencies quoted Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani as saying on Sunday at a forum in Doha.
- UAE: Summit unlikely to end crisis: “The reality is that the [GCC] summit will not bring a resolution to the Qatari crisis but nor is it intended to resolve disputes,” reads a commentary published on Sunday by the state-run WAM news agency.
- The commentary also suggested that UAE representatives will attend the summit out of respect for Kuwait’s emir, adding that “respect for his status and his wisdom has the power to bring countries together.”
- GCC foreign ministers meet. Kuwait’s News Agency reported the beginning of the 144th GCC foreign ministers meeting at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait City on Monday.
- The talks were attended by Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, Omani Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs Yousef bin Alawi, Bahrain’s Assistant Foreign Minister Abdullah Al-Dosari, the UAE’s State Minister Anwar Qarqash and Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Thani.
- Qatar’s foreign minister said that the blockading Arab countries are evading dialogue with Qatar. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said that Qatar is ready for dialogue if there are any positive steps, “but the blockading countries are avoiding sitting on the table”.
- He warned that the Gulf Cooperation Council and the unity of the Gulf states have become under threat in light of the crises experienced by the region, and said that “In the current situation and low-level representation at the GCC summit, we believe that the Gulf crisis will continue in the short term at least.”
- Qatar and Saudi to participate in summit. “I will attend the ministerial council tomorrow and the emir will attend the summit,” news agencies quoted Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani as saying on Sunday at a forum in Doha.
- Citing a diplomatic source, the Anadolu news agency said that Saudi Arabia‘s King Salman will also attend the GCC summit, while Oman‘s News Agency said that its Deputy Prime Minister Sayyid Fahad bin Mahmood al-Said will attend the summit instead of Sultan Qaboos.
- UAE: Summit unlikely to end crisis. “The reality is that the [GCC] summit will not bring a resolution to the Qatari crisis but nor is it intended to resolve disputes,” reads a commentary published on Sunday by the state-run WAM news agency.
- The commentary also suggested that UAE representatives will attend the summit out of respect for Kuwait’s emir, adding that “respect for his status and his wisdom has the power to bring countries together.”
- Qatar’s foreign minister said regional chaos a result of that a “power game”. Speaking at the Mediterranean Dialogues in Rome on Saturday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani laid blame for the region’s biggest wars in Yemen, Libya and Iraq on “regional disorder, mainly driven by a game of power” being played out in Saudi Arabia.
- He added that the lack formal mechanisms for smaller countries to submit grievances against larger nations were at the heart of the game.
- Qatar denies mediation to save the Houthis. Qatar’s foreign affairs media director Ahmed bin Saeed al-Rumaihi rebuffed a tweet by UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, who, on Saturday, accused Qatar of backing Houthi militias in Yemen.
- Anwar Gargash tweeted that “Qatari mediation to save the Houthi militias are documented”.
- In response, al-Rumaihi said that it is unprecedented for an official source to declare something baseless and rooted in flimsy allegations.
- Saudi Arabia to participate in GCC summit. On Friday, diplomatic sources told Al Jazeera that Saudi officials have no objections to attending a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Kuwait.
- IUMS pledged legal action. The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) said on Friday that the organisation’s reputation has been harmed by listing in the terror list of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain.
- “A legal request will be submitted to the responsible authorities in the US and Europe to file legal claims to restore and compensate for the harm they inflicted on us. They have damaged our reputation,” said IUMS in a press statement.
- “We work for the betterment of all humanity, promoting equality, justice and peace in an increasingly troubled world,” said Professor Ali Al Qaradaghi, the secretary general of IUMS.
- France hopes to sell fighter jets to Qatar. French defence minister Florence Parly said on Thursday that she is hoping to sell 12 Rafale fighter jets to Qatar when President Emmanuel Macron visits the country on December 7.
- “We’ve also been negotiating for months about the sale of a large number of armoured vehicles and we hope it will be concluded when the president goes to Qatar at the beginning of December,” the minister told BFM TV.
- Kuwait sends out ‘invitations’ for GCC summit. Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani received on Thursday an invitation from Kuwait to attend the upcoming Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit scheduled for December 5 and 6.
- A diplomatic source confirmed to Al Jazeera on Wednesday that Kuwait will go ahead and host an annual GCC summit next month, and that invitations to all six member Gulf states were sent out.
- QIA may invest in local projects. Qatar’s Investment Authority CEO Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed al-Thani said on Wednesday that Qatar Investment Authority may invest in state organisations like Qatar Airways and Katara to cope with crises such as the boycott, the Gulf Times reported.
- Referring to Katara and Qatar Airways, al-Thani said: “We will be supporting them financially, we will support them in their organisations, provide them human capital”. In the months after the boycott, QIA deposited billions of dollars in Qatari banks to offset the imapct of the other Arab states withdrawing money from them.
- Qatar Charity chosen as Arab Best Charity of 2017. Qatar Charity (QC), one of three Qatar-based charities accused of being involved in “terrorism”, won the award for Arab Best Charity 2017 at the Arab Best Awards held on Wednesday in Marrakech, Morocco.
- In 2014, QC was ranked first by the UN for its relief efforts in the Syrian, Palestinian, and Somali crises.
- Bahrain’s crown prince meets Tillerson. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met on Wedensday with Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
- The two discussed countering Iran’s “malign” activities in the region and the importance of resolving the ongoing Gulf dispute, US Spokesperson Heather Nauert said.
- Bahrain postpones trial of ‘espionage’ trio. Bahrain’s High Criminal Court held on Wednesday its second session in the trial of three suspects on charges of having “intelligence links with the State of Qatar” and “revealing defence secrets to a foreign country”.
- In the first session on Monday, the trial was postponed because none of the suspects were present, while two of the suspects fled Bahrain and will be tried in absentia, Bahrain’s News Agency reported on Monday.
- In the second session on Wednesday, the first suspect Ali Salman attended with four lawyers. Still, the trial was postponed to December 28.
- UAE’s FM decries ICC complaint. UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash accused Qatar of standing behind a complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the UAE on Tuesday.
- London-based Arab Organization for Human Rights in the UK announced the filing of a complaint to the ICC’s public prosecutor office against the UAE ‘use of mercenaries’ in Yemen.
- Qatar Central Bank official warns against backfire. Qatar Central Bank official, Khaled al-Khater accuses other Arab states of trying to undermine its currency in offshore forex markets, Reuters News Agency reported on Monday.
- Qatar accused in testimony trial. In a federal court trial of three soccer officials, the former president of Colombia’s soccer federation, Luis Bedoya, testified on Monday against a “Qatari television representative”, AP news agency reported.
- Bedoya did not receive any money from Qatar, was not in FIFA’s executive committee for the 2010 vote, but he accused an unnamed Qatari television representative to have offered “$10 or 15 million” for “South American support in the FIFA executive committee”.
- Still, the Colombia Football Federation supported Spain in the vote for 2018 World Cup host and the United States for 2022. It did not vote for Qatar.
- Qatar’s economy minister visits Tehran. On Sunday, Qatar’s Minister of Economy and Trade Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani has met with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s news agency IRNA reported.
- Al Thani and his counterparts from Iran and Turkey also signed a transportation agreement aimed at boosting trade between the three countries.
- Qatar signed a commercial deal with Iran and Turkey on Sunday. According to Iranian state television, the deal is aimed to form a “joint working group to facilitate the transit of goods between the three countries”.
- The Financial Tribune said that Iran’s exports to Qatar have increased by 119 percent in October 2017 compared to last year.
- Calls for bombing Al Jazeera. On Friday, Dhahi Khalfan, a senior security official in the UAE has called for the bombing of the Qatar-based media network, accusing it provoking a bomb and gun assault on a mosque in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
- Crisis hurts Gulf oil cooperation. Six months into the Gulf crisis, Gulf ministers have scrapped their tradition of meeting behind closed doors to agree on policy before OPEC’s twice-yearly talks, an OPEC minister said on Thursday.
- Kuwait’s FM arrives in Saudi Arabia. Foreign minister Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah arrived in Riyadh on Thursday in an unannounced visit to Saudi Arabia.
- Kuwait is scheduled to host the upcoming Gulf Cooperation Council summit in December, while Bahrain has threatened to boycott the summit if Qatar attends.
- Qaradawi-led Muslim scholars union blacklisted. Blockading countries on Thursday blacklisted two Islamic organisations and 11 individuals, claiming the entities and individuals are supported by Doha.
- Qatar row moves to WTO litigation phase. On Wednesday, Qatar took the final step to start litigation at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in its row with the United Arab Emirates.
- Qatar’s PM highlights GCC’s role. In an interview with Qatar’s TV on Wednesday, Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani said that the purpose of the Gulf crisis is to intervene in Qatar’s internal affairs.
- The prime minister also said that “Qatar is continuing to implement all its major projects, including World Cup projects, to be completed, God willing, ahead of time.”
- On the GCC, he said: “There is no doubt that the GCC has played an important role in alleviating or finding solutions to some of the issues in the region. The absence of the GCC’s role at this time has a negative impact on resolving these issues. In addition, as part of our national responsibility to our people, it is imperative for all of us to work to maintain the existence of the GCC.”
- Egypt imposes visa on Qataris. As of Thursday, Qatari nationals intending to visit Egypt will have to obtain an entry visa, Egypt’s interior ministry said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
- Qatari messenger arrives in Kuwait. Sheikh Jassem bin Hamad Al Thani arrived in Kuwait on Tuesday with a message from Qatar’s emir to the emir of Kuwait, Kuwait’s News agency reported.
- The message was about the “brotherly ties” between the two countries and the latest developments in the Gulf region, according to the news agency.
- Qatar’s foreign minister ends 10-day visit to the US. Speaking in Washington, DC, where he has been holding talks about the Gulf diplomatic crisis, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said the blockade on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt is being used as an excuse to disrupt regional stability.
- Germany urges work to bridge Gulf divisions. On Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel offered his Qatari counterpart a small piece of the Berlin Wall, saying Germany’s post-war history was proof it was possible to overcome deep divisions such as those now plaguing the Gulf region.
- “Especially in politically troubled times in which dialogue has sometimes slipped into the background, it is all the more important to build bridges, to emphasise the things that unite us and to help remove walls,” Gabriel said at the opening of a new Qatar-funded Arabic cultural centre “Al Diwan” in Berlin.
- Qatar urges neighbours to let nationals attend 2022 World Cup. On Monday, Qatar urged the four countries boycotting it to allow their nationals to attend the World Cup in Doha in 2022.
- “We hope that the blockading nations see reason in this matter and allow for their people to be able to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Hassan al-Thawadi, secretary general at Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, said.
- Qatar’s defence minister discusses the Gulf crisis. On Sunday, Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah, Qatar’s defence minister, discussed the Gulf crisis and said that the country has never supported any extremist group.
- He also said he has never experienced a crisis similar to this one: “I have lived through many events in the region, but the hacking of the QNA website to trigger the crisis was something very strange, with no precedent.”
- QNHRC decries Umrah restrictions. In a statement issued on Sunday, Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee expressed its “deep concern” for the obstacles imposed by Saudi Arabia’s authorities on pilgrims from Qatar.
- Citing a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18, QNHRC said that it will denounce the Saudi restrictions to the Human Rights Enforcement Mechanisms of the United Nations.
- Qatar’s foreign minister decries ‘reckless leadership’ in the region. On Friday, Qatar’s foreign minister criticised “reckless leadership” in the Gulf region for a number of issues, including the Gulf crisis as well as the situation in Lebanon.
- “We see a pattern of irresponsibility and a reckless leadership in the region which is just trying to bully countries into submission,” Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said in Washington, DC.
- ‘Solving the crisis is in Germany’s interest.’ “The boycott of #Qatar is threatening regional development and growth … solving the crisis is also in Germany’s interest,” Germany’s Foreign Office said in a tweet on Friday.
- Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee meets UN delegation. Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri, chair of the National Human Rights Committee in Qatar, met with a UN delegation from the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Doha.
- The delegation arrived on Friday to collect information on the negative impact of the siege on Qatar’s residents and the citizens of the GCC countries.
- Qatar participates in anti-ISIL meeting. On Wednesday, a Qatari delegation participated in a meeting of the International Coalition against ISIL in Jordan. Funding terrorism was one of the charges that blockading countries accused Qatar of when they cut off political, economic and diplomatic ties. These allegations have repeatedly been denied by Qatar.
- Erdogan arrives in Qatar.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Qatar on Tuesday to attend the third meeting of the Turkish-Qatari strategic committee.
- On Wednesday, Erdogan visited the Turkish military base in Qatar.
- Qatar investigates UAE plot. Qatar has opened an investigation into claims of an alleged plot by the UAE to weaken its currency in the early stages of the Qatar-Gulf crisis, a government spokesman said Sunday.
- Qatar’s finance minister in Sudan. Qatari Finance Minister Ali Sharif Al Emadi arrived in Sudan for a state visit on Sunday.
- Emphasising the long-standing relations between the two countries, Sudanese media noted that Qatar “supported Sudan politically and economically when the country faced an international isolation”.
- Bahrain charges for “espionage with Qatar”. Three people have been charged in Bahrain for colluding with Qatar, according to a statement released on Sunday by Bahrain’s Public Prosecution.
- The three will be presented in court on Monday, November 27.
- Erdogan to visit Kuwait and Qatar. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to visit Kuwait and Qatar between November 13 and 15, the Turkish presidency’s information office said in a statement on Saturday.
- Qatar’s FM visits Oman. In a visit to Oman on Saturday, Qatar’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani met with his Omani counterpart Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah.
- Qatar Airways will not attend airshow. Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways’ chief executive, will not attend the Middle East’s largest international airshow due to open in Dubai on Sunday because of the ongoing Gulf crisis.
- ITUC-Africa calls to end kafala. Commending Qatar’s latest labour reforms on Thursday, the African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation urged Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to implement similar reforms.
- Noting that the three countries account for 85 percent of African migrants workers in the GCC, ITUC-Africa will “step up its campaign to focus on these countries”.
- UAE planned to attack Qatar’s financial system. A United Arab Emirates plan to attack Qatar’s financial system has been revealed on Thursday in a folder of an email account belonging to the UAE ambassador to the US, Yousef al-Otaiba.
- Ghana’s FM visits Qatar. Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey met on Tuesday with her Qatari counterpart in Doha to discuss “ways to boost multi-faceted bilateral cooperation”.
- Unlike eight other African countries, Ghana didn’t cut ties with Qatar.
- UAE airs song threatening Qatar. A new song featuring UAE singer Hussain Al Jassmi was aired on TV in the UAE on Tuesday night.
- The song called “Tell Qatar” criticises Qatar’s policies and warns it against crossing into “danger”.
- Qatar Foundation to sell $1.46bn investment. Three Pillars Pte Ltd, an affiliate of the Qatar Foundation, has put up for sale its $1.46bn stake in Indian telecoms carrier, Bharti Airtel Ltd, on Tuesday.
- Qatari companies and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund have liquidated several foreign assets since the Saudi-led quartet imposed economic sanctions on it.
- King of Morocco on Gulf tour. King Mohammed VI of Morocco has arrived in Abu Dhabi for a five-day visit. The king is also due to pay an official visit to Qatar on November 12.
- Qatar’s Emir receives Omani minister. On Tuesday, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani received the interior minister of Oman, Sayyid Hamoud bin Mohammed Al Said. They reviewed the latest developments in the region.
- Qatar to chair WTO committee. Qatar’s Ministry of Economy and Commerce announced on Tuesday that Sheikh Ali bin Alwaleed Al Thani was appointed as the head of the Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) committee at the World Trade Organization in Geneva.
- In August, Qatar filed a complaint with the WTO over the blockade imposed on it by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
- GCC and EU discuss counter-terrorism: Gulf Cooperation Council official Abdulaziz al-Owaisheq and Belgium’s deputy foreign minister, Ashton Drake, met on Monday in Riyadh to discuss regional developments and the efforts of the GCC and the European Union to counter “extremism”.
- Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE are blockading Qatar, alleging that it funds “terrorist organisations”, an accusation Qatar strongly denies. Bahrain has also called to freeze Qatar’s membership in the GCC.
- Saudi FM: Dispute with Qatar ‘very small’. In an interview with CNN on Monday, Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, said the issue with Qatar is “very small” and “should not distract people”.
- Al-Jubeir also said that the Gulf countries are not seeking regime change in Qatar. “This is not our policy,” he said. “Our policy is to see a change in behaviour.”
- Qatar Airways acquires a stake in Cathay Pacific. On Monday, state-owned Qatar Airways acquired its first major stake in an Asian airline, which could potentially allow it to increase traffic through its Doha hub.
- Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE had forbidden Qatar Airways from flying over their airspace, whereas other airlines departing from Qatar would have to inform them at least 24 hours before flying over the airspace.
- New Bahraini restrictions. Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior announced on Sunday that Bahrainis in Qatar should use their passports to move between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the State of Qatar, and can no longer just use their national ID as is the case with other GCC countries.
Turkey, Qatar ministers talks transportation, military ties
- Turkey and Qatar are assessing land, sea, and air transportation opportunities, said Turkish Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communication Minister Ahmet Arslan on Sunday in Doha. He called for pursuing dialogue to solve the Gulf crisis, which began in June.
- Qatar Airways will commence flights between Adana in southern Turkey and Doha starting on Monday.
- Turkish Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli met his Qatari counterpart Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah in Doha on Saturday to discuss military cooperation. Turkey’s parliament has ratified two treaties on deploying troops to Qatar and training the country’s security forces.
- Bahrain has claimed the right to take Qatari territory, as tensions between the two Gulf countries heighten amid political deadlock.
- A press release published on the country’s state news agency on Saturday said that Bahrain had “every right to claim what was cut off forcibly from its land and to dispute the legitimacy of the Qatari rule”.
- The statement, which references a historical border dispute that was solved by an international court in 2001, did not specify whether Bahrain intends to take any action.
Qatar FM: Doha ready for dialogue to resolve the crisis
- Speaking at the World Policy Conference in Morocco, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said Doha is committed to resolving the conflict through dialogue.
- Al Thani said the crisis had no basis and expressed hope that the countries imposing the blockade on Qatar would agree to engage in dialogue as well. He added that the region is already reeling with other conflicts and that another “artificial” crisis will not help the situation.
Foreign ministers of Saudi-led bloc hold talks in Abu Dhabi
- The foreign ministers of a Saudi-led bloc boycotting Qatar have held talks in Abu Dhabi, according to Egypt’s foreign ministry. The top diplomats of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain met on the sidelines of the Sir Bani Yas Forum, ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said on Twitter.
- He said the meeting “reflected common interests”, without giving more details. On Friday, Egyptian authorities said Sameh Shoukry, Egypt’s foreign minister, would attend the 8th annual session of Sir Bani Yas forum to discuss a host of issues, including the Qatari crisis, the Middle East peace process and developments in Iraq and Libya.
- The meeting comes just days after Bahrain’s foreign minister, Khalid Al Khalifa, suggested explicitly on his Twitter account freezing Qatar’s membership at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The minister also said that Bahrain would not participate in the GCC meetings if Qatar is present at the upcoming GCC summit.
- The US Department of State has approved a deal for the support programme of Qatar’s F-15 fighter aircraft at an estimated cost of $1.1bn.
- In June, Qatar and the US signed a $12bn agreement in which Doha bought 72 of the multi-role fighter jets.
- The Pentagon said it had informed Congress of the agreement involving design and construction work, including the development of cybersecurity, protection, support and other related services.
- Bahrain has charged the leader of the country’s outlawed main opposition party with “spying” and suggested the 2011 Arab Spring protests that gripped the country were instigated by a “foreign country”.
- Bahrain’s public prosecutor charged Ali Salman, secretary-general of the al-Wefaq party, and Hassan Sultan, a former member of parliament, of colluding with Qatar to carry out “hostile acts” in Bahrain.
- “The defendants had received financial support from Qatar for carrying out their activities aimed at harming the status and interests of the kingdom,” the statement read.
- Qatar has expressed regret over Bahrain’s decision to impose an entry visa on Qatari nationals and residents amid a political deadlock between the Gulf countries.
- Ali Khalfan al-Mansouri, the country’s representative to the United Nations in Geneva, said in a statement on Tuesday that these “unprecedented measures in the Gulf states constitute a flagrant violation of the agreements and resolutions of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)”.
- Bahrain’s move, which will be effective from November 10, “reveals its persistence in severing ties of kinship between the Gulf families in contravention of the provisions and principles of the Islamic religion,” al-Mansouri continued.
Italian Parliament Delegation in Doha
- Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi met on Wednesday with a delegation of the Italian Parliament currently visiting the country.
- In August this year, Italy signed a 5bn-euro ($5.9bn) agreement with Qatar’s naval forces.
- During this meeting, they discussed means of enhancing the prospects of cooperation, developments in the region and a number of issues of mutual interest.
GCC: Solution with royal leaders
- In a statement, GCC Secretary-General Abdul Latif al-Zayani said the solution to the months-long diplomatic crisis is not down to him, but to the responsibility of the hands of the Gulf leaders.
- “Qatari officials and media know well that resolving the crisis and ending its repercussions is in the hands of the royal leaders of the GCC member states,” he said.
- Al-Zayani, who is Bahraini, also rejected what he said was an “irresponsible media attack” by some Qatari media to link his nationality with the way he had been dealing with the crisis.
- Bahrain is one of the three GCC member-states blockading Qatar.
IMF: Qatar-GCC rift could weaken medium-term growth prospects
- The economic impact of the diplomatic rift between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours has so far been limited, but a prolonged crisis could weaken the region’s mid-term growth, the IMF has said.
- In its Regional Economic Outlook released on Tuesday, the IMF warned that if the crisis drags on, it will “weaken medium-term growth prospects, not only for Qatar but also for other GCC countries.”
- If the rift continues, it will “slow progress toward greater GCC integration and cause a broader erosion of confidence, reducing investment and growth, and increasing funding costs in Qatar and possibly the rest of the GCC,” the report said.
- The king of Bahrain has said his country will not take part in any summit or meeting attended by Qatar unless Doha “corrects its approach”.
- Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on Monday said that Qatar had shown that it did not respect the treaties and charters that the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) was founded upon, according to BNA, the kingdom’s official news agency.
- “As long as Qatar continues this approach, the Kingdom of Bahrain cannot participate in any GCC Summit or meeting attended by Qatar unless it corrects its approach, comes to its senses, and responds to the demands of the countries that suffered so much from its policies,” he said during his weekly cabinet meeting in the capital, Manama.
- The Bahraini king also issued a directive to impose visas on Qatari nationals planning to visit the tiny kingdom.
- There was no immediate response from Qatar.
US treasury secretary vows cooperation with Qatar against ‘terror financing’
- US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin has vowed to “enhance” US cooperation with Qatar “to counter the “financing of terrorism”.
- Mnuchin was in Doha on Monday to hold a meeting with his Qatari counterpart Ali Shareef al-Emadi, as well as the country’s emir and prime minister.
- In a statement, Mnuchin said, “We affirm that the United States and Qatar will significantly increase our cooperation on these issues to ensure that Qatar is a hostile environment for terrorist financing”.
- For his part, al-Emadi said that the latest agreement with the US “is a clear indicator of our long-standing political commitment to combatting money laundering and terror financing”.
- Turkish exports to Qatar in the four months following a blockade imposed by a Saudi-led group of countries jumped by 90 percent to $216m, according to the Aegean Exporters’ Association (EIB).
- In a statement, the EIB also said Turkey’s exports to the Gulf county in the first nine months of 2017 were up by 29 percent to $382m compared to the same period last year.
US Treasury Secretary visits Qatar
- Steven Mnuchin arrived in Doha for a meeting with the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and a number of Qatari officials, including the Finance Minister Ali Shareef al-Emadi.
- The visit is part of his four-leg tour of the Middle East, which includes stops in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel.
- Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has said he wanted an end to the Gulf dispute, and that “Nothing is going to be above our dignity, our sovereignty. But we want it to end. I always say that.”
- “If they (are) going to walk one meter toward me, I’m willing to walk 10,000 miles towards them,” he told 60 Minutes programme in an interview aired on Sunday.
- “I’m fearful that if anything happens, if any military act happens, this region will be in chaos,” he said.
- The emir of Qatar has also said that the Doha-based Al Jazeera television network will not be closed down as demanded by the four countries.
- Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said a group of Arab states blockading Qatar for almost five months is seeking “regime change”.
- “We want freedom of speech for the people of the region, and they’re not happy with that, and so they think that this is a threat to them.”
- The foreign minister of Bahrain has called for Qatar to be frozen out of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
- Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa wrote on Twitter that Bahrain would not attend the upcoming GCC Summit unless Qatar met the demands of the blockading countries.
- The GCC is a political and economic alliance of countries in the Arabian peninsula, including Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
European MP visits Qatar
- Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani met with the Michele Alliot-Marie, Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation for relations with the Arabian Peninsula (DARP).
- The two discussed the latest developments in the Gulf crisis and ways to develop the relations between Qatar and the EU, according to Qatar’s Foreign Ministry.
- Alliot-Marie was in Kuwait on Friday, as part of a tour that also includes Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
- DARP works to “ensure that the European Parliament’s position is taken into account in all policy areas pertaining to the EU’s relations with the countries in the Arabian Peninsula”.
US envoy retracts Qatar funding Hamas comments
- Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, has retracted previous comments in which she claimed that Qatar was funding the Gaza-based Palestinian political movement Hamas.
- Her reported comments, made in a memo to Congress obtained by BuzzFeed, come as the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed support in resolving the Gulf crisis.
- According to BuzzFeed, Haley said “While the Qatari government does not fund Hamas, it does allow Hamas political representatives to be based in Qatar, which Qatar believes limits Iran’s influence and pressure over Hamas … Qatar has committed to take action against terrorist financing, including shutting down Hamas bank accounts.”
- This is a reversal of her position at the start of the crisis in which she viewed the blockade as an “opportunity” to tell Qatar to “quit funding Hamas”.
- The Qatari emir says the US president has offered to hold a meeting at his retreat in Camp David to put an end to the Gulf diplomatic crisis.
- Speaking to the US television programme 60 Minutes, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said Trump plans to bring the Gulf neighbours together in a bid to mediate in the dispute.
- “It is true, he [Trump] suggested that we come,” Sheikh Tamim told CBS News’ 60 Minutes about the US president’s offer to hold a meeting at Camp David.
- “I told him straight away, ‘Mr President, we are very ready, I’ve been asking for dialogue from day one’.”
- When asked by host Charlie Rose about the blockading countries’ reaction, the emir replied: “It was supposed to be very soon, this meeting, but I don’t have any responses.”
Saudi’s crown prince says Gulf-Qatar rift a ‘very small issue’
- Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said that his country’s dispute with Qatar has not affected its military operation in Yemen.
- In an exclusive interview with Reuters news agency, he said, “Qatar is a very, very, very small issue.”
- Mohammed bin Salman said that its war in Yemen would continue in order to prevent the Houthi rebels from turning into another “Hezbollah” on Saudi Arabia’s southern border.
Former Qatari PM voices concern over Gulf crisis
- Former Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim Al Thani has called on King Salman bin Abdel Aziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia “to take the initiative”, help the region, and work to resolve the current Gulf crisis.
- The former PM said King Salman should act before those who work in the opposite direction destroy the region, expressing dismay over the deterioration of relations between GCC member nations.
- He also praised the emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, and his efforts to resolve the dispute calling his efforts “herculean”.
- All parties made mistakes in the past, including Qatar, but Qatar has never acted with ill intent or malice against any of its Arab brothers especially its GCC partner, he told Qatar TV.
- He rejected that Doha has acted against Riyadh, but stressed that his country has always coordinated and aligned its foreign policy especially regarding Iran, Yemen and Syria with the “Big Sister” Saudi Arabia.
Qatar and Russia sign military agreements
- Qatar and Russia have signed military agreements related to air defences and military supplies, Qatar’s Armed Forces said a statement.
- The deals were signed during a visit by Russian Defence minister Sergey Shouigu to Qatar on Wednesday.
- Shouigu held a meeting with his Qatari counterpart Khaled bin Mohammed al-Attiya, during which they discussed the Gulf crisis, the war in Syria, and efforts in combat terrorism.
- Qatar has reiterated its readiness for dialogue to solve the GCC crisis and called on its citizens and media outlets to refrain from attacking “Gulf symbols”.
- A statement by Qatar’s foreign ministry on Tuesday was in response to a call by the Kuwaiti emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, for all sides to de-escalate the ongoing Gulf crisis.
- The statement said Doha “hailed the appeal” made by the Kuwaiti leader and did not seek to “escalate the situation”.
- “Qatar has a strong belief in the fairness of its position in this crisis and its adherence to dialogue based on mutual respect, on the basis of its principles and values,” the statement read.
Kuwait warns against escalation
- Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah has warned of dangers of escalation in the Gulf crisis, cautioning that the collapse of the Gulf Cooperation Council would be the end of one of the last bastions of Arab cooperation.
- “We must be aware of the risks of escalation in the Gulf Crisis,” Sheikh Sabah said at a session of the Kuwaiti parliament, explaining that the crisis could worsen.
- The Emir stressed that the crisis is at the top of Kuwait’s agenda and that the country’s aim is to resolve the issue and to protect the GCC from collapse, adding that every side is depending on Kuwaiti mediation.
Saudi FM on Iran and Qatar
- Saudi Arabia supports US President Donald Trump’s stance on Iranafter he decided not to certify that Tehran is complying with a nuclear accord, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Tuesday.
- “(Iran’s behaviour) is not acceptable, and there will be consequences to the Iranians. This is what President Trump has said, and we are very supportive of that,” Jubeir said at a conference in London.
- Asked about the latest developments in the Qatar crisis Jubeir said: “the matter is up to Qatar.”
- Turkey is seeking to further boost cooperation with Qatar in health and pharmaceutical sectors Fikret Ozer ambassador of Turkey to Qatar, said on Tuesday.
- In 2017 the exports to Qatar increased after the siege was imposed. Turkish media reported Qatar would invest a further $19bn in Turkey in 2018, with $650m going to agriculture and livestock.
- “We are bringing many products here, but there is no land route between Turkey and Qatar. But now there is a cooperation between Qatar and Iran and Turkey, and there will be a new route between these countries. In due time, we will announce the agreement, which will be signed by the relevant ministers,” the ambassador explained.
UAE hires US firm close to Steve Bannon to launch an anti-Qatar campaign
- A company with “close ties” with Steve Bannon, ex-chief strategist of Donald Trump, was hired by the United Arab Emirates to launch a social media campaign against Qatar, US website McClatchy has reported.
- McClatchy said that a $330,000 contract was paid by the UAE to the firm to launch a social media campaign that included calling for the boycott of Qatar.
- The hired firm, SCL Social Limited, is part of the same group as Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge Analytica is the firm that Donald Trump hired during his presidential campaign to reach voters with “hyper-targeted online messaging”, the website said.
- Bahrain’s former football goalkeeper Hamood Sultan was briefly detained by police in Bahrain on Monday, triggering a social media outcry with the hashtag #حمود_سلطان (his name in Arabic).
- Later on Monday, a video on social media showed Sultan saying: “There is nothing.. the matter was simple”. In the video, Sultan also praised the King of Bahrain and thanked those who have asked about him.
- Sultan previously worked in Qatar for Al Kass Sports TV Channels and had praised Qatar. Public expressions of sympathy towards Qatar are criminalised by law in Bahrain and the UAE.
- Qatar’s Chief of Staff Major General Ghanim bin Shaheen Al Ghanim inaugurates the Qatar Defence Attache office in Washington.
- Qatari defence ministry said in a statement released on Monday that the new office will further bolster cooperation between the two countries’ armies in “combating violent extremism, terrorism and bringing stability to our region.”
Qatar’s FM visits Turkey
- Qatar’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani visits Turkey on October 23 in advance of the third meeting of Turkey-Qatar Supreme Strategic Committee.
- During the visit, bilateral relations, as well as regional issues, will be discussed.
- The Turkey-Qatar Supreme Strategic Committee was established in 2014 as a mechanism for cooperation and consultation between the two countries.
- President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repetitively spoken against the blockade.
9:40pm – Qatar’s NHRC chief hopes for Spain support over blockade
- The head of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee said he hoped Spain, through its membership in the United Nations Human Rights Council, would condemn the violations of the blockade imposed on Qatar by its Gulf neighbours.
- Speaking at a press conference in Spain’s capital, Madrid, Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri said, “We thank Spain for its position, its support for dialogue to resolve the current Gulf crisis.”
- He added, “Because Qatar is aware of Spain’s respect of rights and freedoms, especially when it comes to violations of human rights, we hope that Spain will support Qatar to condemn violations and unjust aggression by the blockading states.”
- US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Saudi Arabia is not willing to begin direct talks to resolve a months-long diplomatic crisis in the Gulf.
- The top US diplomat made the comments on Sunday during a visit to Qatar, where he arrived following a stop in Saudi Arabia as part of a new push to end the dispute.
- “In my meetings with [Saudi] Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, I asked him to please engage in dialogue, [but] there is not a strong indication that parties are ready to talk yet. We cannot force talks upon people who are not ready to talk,” said Tillerson, referring to his earlier discussions in Riyadh.
Al-Bashir arrives in Kuwait
- Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir began on Sunday a two-day visit to Kuwait and Qatar.
- Bashir will discuss with the two Emirs the recent developments in the region.
- In his meeting with the Emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Al Bashir will also discuss the two nation’s bilateral relations and peace and development efforts in Sudan.
- Sudan is among the Arab states that refused to take sides in the ongoing diplomatic crisis and declared its support for the Kuwaiti efforts to settle the rift.
- US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Saudi Arabia for the start of his Middle East tour as part of a new push to end the Gulf crisis.
- Tillerson offered little optimism about a solution to the Gulf crisis before his tour, blaming the Saudi-led group of countries for the lack of progress.
- “There seems to be a real unwillingness on the part of some of the parties to want to engage… It’s up to the leadership of the quartet when they want to engage with Qatar because Qatar has been very clear – they’re ready to engage,” Tillerson told Bloomberg news agency on Thursday.
- Tillerson is also expected to visit Qatar on Sunday.
Qatar’s non-oil exports recover
- Qatar’s non-oil export figures from July to September were almost twice as high as in June.
- In September, exports had fallen by 12.6 percent compared with August but were 5 percent higher than in May before the blockade
- “The substantial rise in exports to the normal level affirms that the unfair siege imposed on Qatar couldn’t stop or hinder the export processes for the Qatari private sector due to the robustness of the economy,” said Qatar Chamber Chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim Al Thani.
- Oman was Qatar’s top non-oil export destination in September, accounting for 44.6 percent of the exports. Non-oil exports include aluminium alloys, iron grids, chemical fertilisers, and plastic rolls.
10:50am – Tillerson due in Saudi Arabia
- US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is due in Saudi Arabia on Saturday to discuss the Qatar-Gulf crisis.
- Tillerson’s tour of the region comes amid US frustration over the lack of movement in the crisis.
- “I do not have a lot of expectations for it being resolved anytime soon,” he said in an interview with financial news agency Bloomberg on Thursday.
10:00am – Kuwaiti FM visits Qatar to discuss Gulf crisis
- Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad received Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled al-Hamad Al Sabah in Doha on Thursday to discuss the ongoing Gulf crisis.
- The two men discussed the political dispute – along with Kuwait’s ongoing efforts to mediate the crisis.
- US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said he has little hope that the months-long Gulf diplomatic crisis will be resolved soon, blaming the Saudi-led group of countries for a lack of progress.
- Tillerson made the comments on Thursday, a day before he embarks on a trip to the region in a renewed attempt to mediate the dispute.
- “I do not have a lot of expectations for it being resolved anytime soon,” he said in an interview with financial news agency Bloomberg.
- “There seems to be a real unwillingness on the part of some of the parties to want to engage,” he added.
- “It’s up to the leadership of the quartet when they want to engage with Qatar because Qatar has been very clear – they’re ready to engage.”
9:00pm – Tillerson to visit Qatar, Saudi Arabia
- US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Saudi Arabia and Qatar as part of a week-long trip that will also include stops in Pakistan, India and Switzerland.
- The US top diplomat’s trip will start on Friday, October 20.
- During the Middle East part of his trip, Tillerson is expected to hold talks about the ongoing GCC crisis, as well as the conflict in Yemen.
- His stop in Doha will also include meetings with Qatari leaders and US military officials to discuss joint counterterrorism efforts.
- Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has denounced the “unjust siege” of his country, as he declared that he is “open to dialogue” to resolve the Gulf crisis.
- In a statement following his meeting with Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo in Jakarta, Sheikh Tamim said Qatar is “ready to conduct a dialogue”, declaring, “We are all brothers and suffering because of this crisis.”
- In an interview with CNBC, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani accused neighbouring Saudi Arabia of attempting to destabilise the leadership in Doha.
- Sheikh Mohammed said Saudi Arabia is trying to bring back “the dark ages of tribes and putting them together in order to create a pressure on connected tribes in Qatar”.
Emir of Kuwait visiting Saudi Arabia for talks
- The Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and his accompanying delegation left Kuwait on Monday for a visit to Saudi Arabia, according to Kuwait News Agency.
- The crisis between Qatar and neighbouring countries is on the agenda of the visit ahead of a Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Kuwait next December.
Qatar’s emir kicks off South East Asia tour
- Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is due to arrive in Malaysia on Sunday as part of a three-country tour of Southeast Asia.
- The Qatar emir’s two-day stay in Malaysia is his first official visit there. He will be accompanied by several cabinet ministers and a business delegation, according to Malaysia’s foreign ministry.
- The next stops on his tour are Indonesia and Singapore.
Audrey Azoulay wins vote to be next UNESCO chief
- Audrey Azoulay, a former French culture minister, has been elected the next head of UNESCO, after narrowly beating Qatar’s Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kawari.
- The final vote on Saturday was overshadowed by Middle East tensions, with Qatari media blaming Al Kawari’s loss on a lobby by several Arab countries boycotting Qatar.
Gargash accuses Qatar of funding Houthis
Egypt targets Qatar in UNESCO
- Seven countries – France, China, Vietnam, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Qatar and Lebanon – are currently vying for leadership of The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
- After two days of a secret ballot that could run until Friday, Qatar’s Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari leads France’s Audrey Azoulay and Egyptian hopeful Moushira Khattab.
- In an interview with Egypt Today, Egypt’s top diplomat, Sameh Shoukry, suggested Qatar was using its financial power to influence UNESCO’s 58-member executive council.
- “It is an organisation that is owned by international society and cannot be sold to a particular state or individual,” he was quoted as saying when asked about the Qatari candidate’s campaign pitch, “I’m not coming empty-handed.”
- Kawari, the Qatari candidate, has so far not reacted to Egyptian allegations, simply tweeting on Wednesday: “Al-Kawari tipped to head UNESCO”
UAE: Qatar review a must before World Cup
- “Qatar’s hosting of World Cup 2022 should include a repudiation of policies supporting extremism & terrorism. Doha should review its record,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash wrote on Twitter.
- Qatar, which denies accusations by the UAE and some other Gulf states said in a statement that the UAE’s charge was desperate and “weak.”
- “(The) UAE’s demand that Qatar give up the World Cup shows their illegal blockade is founded on petty jealousy, not real concerns,” Qatar’s government communications office said.
- “Their weak attempts to tie the hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to their illegal blockade show their desperation to justify their inhumane action,” it added in a statement.
- Gargash made his comments after a former Dubai police chief wrote on Twitter this week that the Gulf crisis could end if Doha forfeited hosting the World Cup.
- Qatar’s government has condemned an attack on a palace guard post in the western Saudi city of Jeddah.
- Two security guards were killed, and three others were injured in the attack.
- The attacker, a 28-year old Saudi national named Mansour al-Amri, was also killed.
- In a statement, Qatar’s government said: “The Foreign Ministry reiterated Qatar’s firm position rejecting violence and terrorism regardless of their motives or reason.”
10:25pm – Qatar orders aid to private sector amid Gulf crisis
- Qatar’s government announced measures to help private sector businesses on Saturday amid economic sanctions imposed by some of its Gulf neighbours.
- Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani decided to cut rents paid by companies in Qatar’s logistics zones in half during 2018 and 2019, official news agency QNA reported.
- Qatar Development Bank, a state-funded body which lends to firms, will also postpone receiving loan installments for up to six months to facilitate industrial sector projects, Al Thani said.
- Hassan al-Thawadi, secretary-general of the Qatar World Cup Supreme Committee, says the regional blockade against the country poses “no risk” to the football tournament in 2022.
- “We have come under criticism and attack over the years, but we have always faced our critics,” Hassan al-Thawadi, secretary general of the Qatar World Cup supreme committee, told The Associated Press news agency.
- Al-Thawadi maintained that logistical obstacles are being overcome and building work is continuing with only “minimal” cost increases.
- “Our projects are going ahead as scheduled. This (blockade) is no risk in relation to the hosting of the World Cup.”
- The US military has halted some exercises with its Gulf Arab allies over the ongoing diplomatic crisis targeting Qatar, trying to use its influence to end the months-long dispute, authorities told The Associated Press.
- While offering few details, the acknowledgement by the US military’s Central Command shows the concern it has over the conflict gripping the Gulf, home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet and crucial bases for its campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group, as well as the war in Afghanistan.
- “We are opting out of some military exercises out of respect for the concept of inclusiveness and shared regional interests,” Air Force Colonel John Thomas, a Central Command spokesperson, said in a statement.
- “We will continue to encourage all partners to work together toward the sort of common solutions that enable security and stability in the region.”
2:23pm – Qatari forces conclude military exercises
- Government troops known as the Emiri Land Forces have concluded a four-day military exercise in the Sealine and Al Galayel districts of the country.
- According to a government statement, the exercises, which include reconnaissance operations as well as air landing, was held with the participation of joint special forces, and aimed at “defending the state’s territory, airspace and vital economic and strategic facilities”.
10:36am – Qatar: We have enough reserves to support banks
- Qatar’s government has enough reserves to support its banks in the face of sanctions imposed by some Arab states, central bank governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al Thani said in a statement on Wednesday.
- Sheikh Abdullah dismissed reports of strain on the banking system as fake news and rumours, adding that domestic liquidity was up 8.3 percent at the end of July while the monetary base had grown 1.7 percent.
12:45pm – Iranian foreign minister visits Qatar amid GCC diplomatic standoff
1:30pm – Iran FM to visit Qatar
- Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif will visit Qatar on Monday, officials said, for talks on relations between Tehran and Doha that have caused tensions in the Gulf.
- Zarif left Tehran on Monday morning for Oman and was to head to Doha in the afternoon, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi told AFP.
- It will be his first visit to Doha since Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut ties with Qatar in June.
- Zarif is to meet Qatar’s emir and foreign minister.
10:48pm – US officials oppose bid to shut Taliban office: report
- The Trump administration’s reported consideration of a plan that would close the Taliban political office in Doha has triggered an unusual internal protest from state department officials who say it would undermine US interests in Afghanistan, according to a Wall Street Journal report quoting current and former US officials.
- A group of state department specialists on South Asia filed a rare internal “dissent channel cable” on Friday to urge that the US keep the Taliban office open and launch more intensive talks to end the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan, according to people familiar with the move, the report says.
- The unclassified memo to top state department leaders urged them to keep the Taliban office open to help ensure that a serious push for peace talks is not put on the back burner while the US sends 4,000 more American soldiers into Afghanistan to try to break a battlefield stalemate with the Taliban.
1:30pm – UN chief urges Gulf states to sit down for talks
- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has reiterated his support for the ongoing Kuwaiti mediation efforts aimed at ending the Gulf crisis, Kuwait News Agency quoted a statement he issued.
- Guterres called on all parties to resolve their differences by sitting down at the negotiating table and showing a spirit of good-neighbourliness and respect.
12:00pm – Qatar Airways’ cargo division surges despite blockade
As the world’s third-largest cargo operator, Qatar Airways continues to invest in fleet expansion, helping secure a supply of essential items and medicines at a time when an illegal blockade is imposed, the company’s chief executive says.
- The blockade by neighbouring states has only boosted Qatar Airways’ cargo business, figures show. The national airline saw a 160-percent surge in its cargo business in June this year compared to the same month in 2016.
- “We are growing month-on-month, and since 2015, we have been the third largest international cargo operator in the world,” Baker said during the delivery of Qatar Airways first 747-8 freighter at Boeing’s production facility in Everett, Washington. “Our sights are set on number one.”
11:35pm – Qatari and Turkish leaders hold phone conversation
- The emir of Qatar has spoken over the phone with the president of Turkey to discuss “a set of current issues on the regional and international fronts”, according to Qatari state media.
- Qatar News Agency said that Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thaniand Recep Tayyip Erdogan also reviewed bilateral relations “between the two fraternal countries”.
- The phone call came about two weeks after a meeting between the two leaders in the presidential palace in Turkey’s capital, Ankara.
- Erdogan has been a major supporter of Doha since June 5, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt cut ties and blockaded Qatar.
- The Turkish president has strongly spoken out against the sanctions applied by the four countries, while Turkey has also sent cargo ships and hundreds of planes loaded with food to break the blockade.
11:00am – Seminar speakers slam ‘un-Islamic’ blockade
- Expressing disappointment over “illegal, unethical and un-Islamic” actions of siege countries, speakers at an international seminar in Doha emphasised the need for dialogue to resolve political disputes, Qatari newspaper The Peninsula reported.
- Professor Aisha Al Mannai, director of the Mohammed Bin Hamad Al Thani Center for Islamic Contributions to Civilizations, said: “The world has witnessed this unfair generalisation against the state of Qatar with allegations that it supports terrorism without providing evidence.”
- “This crisis has been marked by the moral downfall of everything – politicians, religious scholars, media professionals and even artists,” she said.
- Jaber Al Harimi, former editor-in-chief of Qatar’s Al Sharq newspaper, lauded the role of Qatari media in covering the crisis.
- “The siege countries, by forgetting all ethics, are spreading lies, disinformation against Qatar while the Qatari media has remained committed to morality without resorting to lies and slander,” Al Harimi said.
9:00am – Report: Qatar’s ostracisation could backfire on Dubai
- Dubai’s economic ties to Qatar could hurt its economy amid the months-long blockade, Euromoney reports.
- Qataris own large amounts of property in Dubai, buying more than $500m of real estate there last year alone, and Qatari gas is one of Dubai’s main sources of energy.
- The biggest impact, however, could be to the reputation of Dubai as a business-friendly jurisdiction, it said. Showing sympathy for Qatar in the United Arab Emirates is now a crime punishable by a fine of $136,000 and up to 15 years in prison.
8:00pm – Qatar holds cybersecurity meeting in New York
- The Permanent Mission of Qatar to the United Nations hasheld a high-level meeting on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in New York. The meeting, which was titled,”From cyberattack to illegal measures: the blockade against the State of Qatar”, coincided with a major diplomatic crisis in the Gulf, highlightingthe impact of the dispute and its multifaceted repercussions on the countries involved.
- The first session examined the events since the May 25 cyberattack on Qatar News Agency (QNA) and the publication of false statements attributed to Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
- In a speech during the session, Attorney General Ali bin Fetais al-Marri described hacking as one of the most dangerous crimes threateninginternational peace and security, QNA reported.
- Al-Marri saidthe issue is of great concern to the international community, stressing that countries should takemeasures not only to banand punish thoseinvolved in piracy for political or personal gain but also treat them as a major threat to international peace and security.
- “This was a turning point in the events, we in Qatar, did not expect it, but we were able to deal with it and overcome the obstacles created by these sudden actions to ensure the continuity of normal daily life,” he said.
2:00am – US Defense chief Mattis makes surprise Qatar visit
- James Mattis, US defense secretary, has made an unannounced visit to Qatar.
- He held talks with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah at Al-Udeid air base, home to around 10,000 US troops, on Thursday.
1:00am – Qatar’s stock market most positive in region: polls
- Sentiment towards Qatar’s stock market, which fell after four neighbouring Arab states cut diplomatic and transport ties with Doha on June 5, has improved considerably, the latest Reuters polls show.
- Thirty-one percent of Middle East funds now expect to raise allocations to Qatari equities and eight percent to decrease them, making Qatar the most positive market in the region.
- “The Qatari market experienced a remarkable 11 consecutive days in the red during September. With valuations reaching distressed levels, this was followed by six days of gains as local and regional buyers rushed to take advantage,” said Akber Khan, head of asset management at Al Rayan Investment in Doha.
10:35pm – Qatari and Omani firms sign deal for maritime transportation of goods
- Qatari company Trans Oceans has signed an agreement with Omani maritime transport firm Naseera to facilitate the movement of ferries transporting goods, equipment, cars and tourists between the two countries.
- The deal was struck on the sidelines of the Oman Products Exhibition, Qatar News Agency reported.
- Qatar and Oman are two of the six countries that comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council. Fellow GCC members Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, along with Egypt, cut ties with Qatar on June 5 and imposed a land, air and sea blockade on it.
- Kuwait, also a GCC member, is leading mediation efforts to resolve the crisis.
3:15pm – QP CEO says Qatar has not cut off gas to UAE
- Qatar Petroleum President Saad Sherida Al Kaabi said that Qatar would honour its commitment to supply oil and gas to the United Arab Emirates.
- The State of Qatar has dealt with the gas pipeline to the UAE in a civilised and humanitarian manner, he said.
- Al Kaabi also said that Qatar will maintain its position as the world’s largest producer of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and that there is an “expansion of our investments inside and outside Qatar.”
- New Instagram content aims to provide dedicated, creative, and captivating information to Arab youth.
- Yaser Bishr, Al Jazeera’s executive director of digital, said, “This comes as part of Al Jazeera’s digital transformation strategy to reach users on all available platforms.”
- This comes after Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain banned the Al Jazeera “Discover” service on Snapchat.
9:00am – Qatar, China sign security agreement
8:30am – Qatar imports rebound in August
- According to the planning and statistics ministry, imports jumped 39.1 percent to $2.38bn.
- Imports were 7.8 percent below their levels from a year earlier, but that still marked a major recovery from the levels in June and July.
- Imports were down after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Doha on June 5.
- Qatari companies and foreign shippers have sought to establish new shipping routes to Qatar via other countries including Oman, compensating for the loss of Dubai as a trans-shipment centre.
11:00pm – Qatari bank ‘looking to sell’ stake at UAE bank
- Qatar’s third-largest lender, Commercial Bank, is in talks to sell its 40 percent stake in Abu Dhabi-listed United Arab Bank to the UAE’s Tabarak Investment, sources told Reuters news agency.
9:00pm – Qatari human rights chief meets US officials
- Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) Chairman Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri underlined the urgent need to put an end to the blockade during his meeting with US officials.
- During Marri’s meeting with the two US representatives, Republican Congressmen Trent Franks and Gus Bilirakis, he urged them to condemn the blockade against Qatar and to take the appropriate measures to help lift it.
- Among the victims of the GCC crisis are 200 Qatari-owned racing camels.
The camels had to be shipped back from the United Arab Emirates via Oman after they were banned from competing. Saudi Arabia also expelled hundreds of Qatari-owned camels from their country. Many did not make it back onto Qatari soil.
2:00pm – Qatari FM says GCC pushing Qatar towards closer Iran relationship
- Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said the blockade is pushing Qatar into closer economic ties with Iran, before questioning the wisdom of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s strategy.
- “They said Qatar was now closer to Iran. By their measures they are pushing Qatar to Iran. They are giving Iran, or any regional force, Qatar like a gift,” he told the French Institute of International Relations on Monday.
- The FM added that Qatar still has political differences with Iran, including over Syria.
09:30am – Qatari FM discusses Gulf crisis in Paris
- Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani will speak at the French Institute of International Relations on ‘The Gulf Crisis: the View from Doha’, at 12:30pm (Doha time).
- French President Emmanuel Macron has urged the lifting of a Saudi-led embargo on Qatar in effect since June.
- Macron called for “the embargo measures affecting the people of Qatar, in particular families and students, to be lifted as quickly as possible”, on September 15.
- Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani returned to the Qatari capital on Sunday after concluding his first foreign trip since the blockade against his country was announced on June 5.
- Thousands of people lined up the main boulevard in Doha and waved the national colours, as they greeted the country’s leader.
- On Tuesday, Sheikh Tamim spoke at the UN General Assembly in New York and accused countries that imposed the “unjust blockade” of seeking to destabilise the gas and oil-rich Gulf state.
6:00am – Qataris plan solidarity event for Emir
- Residents will welcome the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani back to Qatar on Sunday evening with an event planned to express solidarity on the Doha’s Corniche.
- Sheikh Tamim travelled a few weeks ago to meet with world leaders in Turkey, Germany, France and the United States. It was his first trip since the Gulf dispute began in June.
- Officials and residents announced on Twitter that they will host a warm welcome for him at the Doha airport, followed by an event along the Corniche.
7:00pm – Saudi FM: ‘Qatar jeopardising policy of combating terrorism’
- Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has reiterated the position of the four blockading Arab nations, demanding that Qatarfollow the principles of international law in combating “terrorism”.
- Speaking at the United Nations 72nd General Assembly in New York on Saturday, al-Jubeir said: “The crisis in Qatar is jeopardising our policy of combating terrorism and extremism and the cutting off funding of such terrorism.”
- The Saudi diplomat added: “Saudi Arabia will continue to counter extremism and terrorism.”
6:00am – UAE says Iran main obstacle to Arab peace
- The foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates has said Iran’s “hostile and expansionist policy” is the major obstacle to solving all crises in the Arab world.
- At the UN General Assembly annual ministerial meeting, Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan accused Iran of interfering in internal affairs of other countries and supporting “terrorist groups”.
- He said Iran must realise that the best basis “for a harmonious relationship with the states in the Arab Gulf” is to respect the sovereignty of countries in the region.
1:00am – Qatar’s NHRC calls for international mission to examine human rights violations
- The head of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) has issued a new call for international observers to urgently visit Qatar and its neighbours blockading it to assess the humanitarian impact caused by the moves of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, Qatar’s News Agency (QNA) reported.
- Ali bin Sumaikh al-Marri’s call came during a meeting with Craig Mokhiber, head of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in New York and deputy secretary-general for Human Rights of the UN.
- Marri urged the international technical mission to hold direct meetings with nationals and residents of Qatar, as well as citizens of the three blockading countries, to listen to their complaints and document the psychological, material and moral damage they suffered, QNA said.
- Somalia’s government has rebuked its three semi-autonomous regions for cutting ties with Qatar, saying it was determined to stay neutral in the Gulf nation’s dispute with other Arab states.
- “The cabinet reaffirms the federal government’s decision in June … that Somalia is neutral about the conflict of Gulf countries,” read a statement issued by the office of Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire.
- “[The Arab states] are trying to give more energy and emphasise more their relations with these regional governments, trying to pressure them to go against the federal government,” said Nairobi-based Somalia expert Ahmed Roble.
23:15 – Qatari FM discusses Gulf crisis with Italian, Ukrainian, Australian counterparts and EU foreign affairs chief in New York
- Qatar’s foreign minister met with several dignitaries on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York to discuss, among others, the blockade imposed on Qatar by a group of Arab countries.
- Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani held talks with Federica Mogherini, the European Union foreign affairs chief, as well as his Italian, Ukrainian and Australian counterparts, Angelino Alfano, Pavlo Klimkin and Julie Bishop respectively.
- During the meetings, the Qatari foreign minister discussed the humanitarian impact of the blockade and stressed the importance of dialogue to solve the crisis.
- At Ashghabat 2017 in Turkmenistan, riders from Qatar and Saudi Arabia will compete while their countries are locked in a bitter political dispute.
- The Gulf diplomatic crisis spilled over onto sports when it led to the cancellation of this year’s Gulf Cup of Nations in football. However, there is hope that the games in this horse-loving nation can promote cooperation and understanding.
10:40 – Qatari emir discusses Gulf crisis with Russian FM at the UN
- Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani met on Wednesday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York City.
- The two discussed the Gulf dispute among other topics.
- A similar meeting took place at the UN between Sheikh Tamim and UN’s human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.
10:35 – Qatargas to sell 1.5 million tonnes of LNG a year to Turkey’s Botas
- State-run Qatargas, the world’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), said on Wednesday it had signed a medium-term sales and purchase agreement with Turkey’s Botas to deliver 1.5m tonnes of LNG each year for three years.
- “Qatargas said it would supply the LNG from Qatargas 2 to either the Egegaz LNG Terminal, the Marmara LNG Terminal or the Etki LNG terminal in Turkey.
- “We are very pleased to announce this new agreement with Botas which will further strengthen our relationship with our friends in Turkey,” said Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, president and CEO of Qatar Petroleum and chairman of board of directors of Qatargas.
11:41 – Trump expects Gulf dispute to be quickly resolved
- US President Donald Trump has said on Tuesday he thought the dispute between Qatar and some of its Arab neighbors would be resolved quickly.
- “We are right now in a situation where we’re trying to solve a problem in the Middle East. And I think we’ll get it solved, I have a very strong feeling that it will be solved pretty quickly,” Trump said in New York as he met Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani
- Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has said that a group of Arab countries imposing an “unjust blockade” on Qatar are seeking to destabilise a sovereign state.
- “I stand before you while my country and my people are subjected to an ongoing and unjust blockade imposed since June 5 by neighbouring countries,” Sheikh Tamim said, addressing the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.
- He asked if this what not a definition of “terrorism”, saying that the moves by the blockading countries were an assault against a sovereign state and a violation against human rights.
- Snapchat has blocked access to Al Jazeera news articles and videos in Saudi Arabia following a request from the government, a spokesperson for Snap Inc has said.
- Saudi Arabia’s government told the social media company that the Al Jazeera Discover Publisher Channel violated local laws.
- “We make an effort to comply with local laws in the countries where we operate,” a Snapchat spokesperson said in a statement.
- Morad Rayyan, head of Incubation and Innovation Research at Al Jazeera, said the move was “unprecedented”.
- “Snapchat is a US-based company, publicly traded, and it stands for freedom of expression. We are working on contingency plans to ensure our content is available on other platforms,” Rayyan said.
6:00am – Qatar proposes a compensation committee
- Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) proposed the establishment of a compensation committee, within the framework of the UN General Assembly, for victims of the unilateral actions taken against Qatar.
- The proposal was made during the NHRC’s comments in a report presented to the Human Rights Council by Idriss Jazairy, Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures.
- The NHRC said that the current situation met all the conditions for the creation of specialised compensation committees, as outlined in the report, adding that this committee must be established under strict guidelines and must have wide authority to make decisions.
- Qatar’s Defence Minister Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah and the United Kingdom’s Defence Secretary Michael Fallon signed a letter of intent on Sunday in Doha to purchase 24 Typhoon aircraft.
- “This will be the first major defence contract with Qatar, one of the UK’s strategic partners. This is an important moment in our defence relationship and the basis for even closer defence cooperation between our two countries,” said Fallon.
- “We also hope that this will help enhance security within the region across all Gulf allies.”
5:45pm – Qatar’s FM calls on world leaders to do more against terrorism
- Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has said the world leaders are not doing enough to combat terrorism.
- Speaking at the US-Islamic World Forum in New York City, he said: “Terrorism is a scary phenomenon… violence and hatred have helped a lot in the eruption and creation of the terrorist organisations. The international community and the world in general has not done enough against terrorism.”
12:00pm – Qatari stocks continues to slide
- Qatar’s stock market headed for its tenth straight losing session on Sunday while Saudi Arabia’s index bucked an otherwise weak region because of gains in the petrochemical sector.
- On Friday, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said Qatar was ready to sit at the negotiating table to try to end a dispute with its Gulf Arab neighbours. But in the absence of a positive response from the Saudi-led coalition boycotting Qatar, investors did not take the remarks as a sign that the dispute was moving closer to resolution.
- Qatar’s index slipped 0.5 percent with Doha Bank dropping 2.6 percent.
- In Saudi Arabia, all but one of the 14 listed petrochemical shares rose after Brent crude closed near a five-month peak on Friday.
11:20am – Qatar’s foreign minister to keynote US-Islamic World forum
- Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani will deliver a keynote address at the US-Islamic World Forum in New York on Sunday.
- The annual forum, now in its 13th year, is organised by the Brookings Institution in conjunction with the state of Qatar. This year’s theme is “Crisis and Cooperation” and discussion topics include ending conflicts in the Middle East and the future of pluralism in the Arab world.
6:25pm – Food price inflation eases in Qatar during August
- Qatar’s government data showed on Saturday that food price inflation eased in the country during August, suggesting the country was finding ways to reduce the impact of economic sanctions imposed by four Arab states.
- Food and beverage prices climbed 4.5 percent from a year earlier in July, their fastest increase since at least 2014, and shot up 4.2 percent from the previous month.
- In August, however, food and beverage prices only rose 2.8 percent from a year ago and fell back 0.6 percent from July, suggesting Qatar had succeeded in establishing new channels to obtain food economically.
- Qatari shipping lines, which lost the use of Dubai as a trans-shipment centre because of the sanctions, have been establishing new services via Oman, Kuwait and the Indian subcontinent.
- Qatari food processors have boosted their operations to make up for the disruption to imports.
9:05am – Qatar-France naval drill concludes
- Qatar’s naval forces have completed two days of maritime exercises with French forces.
- Qatar’s defence ministry said the joint drills were aimed at fighting terrorism, smuggling and keeping stability in the region. The exercises took place in Qatari regional waters
9:00am – Sheikh Tamim arrives in New York City
- Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thaniarrived in New York City on Friday evening to attendthe 72nd session of the UN General Assembly.
- US President Donald Trumpis expected to address the assembly for the first time, and will meet with the leaders of several countries including Qatar.
8:30am – Qatar newspaper highlights emir’s tour to Turkey, Europe
- The Qatar daily newspaper Al Raya on Saturday highlighted the political significance ofthe emir’s recent tour to France, Turkey, andGermany, sayingtalks dealt with key regional and international developments.
- Turkey, Germany and France have lentsupport toQatar’s position andcalled for dialogue and negotiation to serve the interests of all parties, while warning against the language of escalation, threats, dictates and prejudice, Al Raya’s editorial said.
7:00am – Rights group decries violation of education, employment rights
- Dr. Ali bin Smaikh Al Marri, chairman of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), said UAE universities haverefused to provide Qatari students with documents relating to their education.
- Al Marri also highlighted employment rights violations affecting expatriate staff whohave been forced to leave their jobs in Qatar and return to their homecountries.
- Describing the siege as “an illegal blockade”, Al Marri said everyone who travels to Qatar could be subject to prison orfinancial fines. He also condemned the punishment of those who raise objections to the siege or call for dialogue.
- NHRC said it has received 3,346 complaints as result of the siege on Qatar, including 620 complaints from affected families.
10:07pm – Trump to meet Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim
- US President Donald Trump will hold a meeting with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting next week in New York, the White House said on Friday.
- He will meet Sheikh Tamim on Tuesday, and leaders from Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, the United Kingdom and Egypt on Wednesday, a White House spokesman said on Friday.
- French President Emmanuel Macron has urged the lifting of a Saudi-led embargo on Qatar in effect since June.
- Macron is calling for “the embargo measures affecting the people of Qatar, in particular families and students, to be lifted as quickly as possible,” the president’s office said in a statement on Friday after he met Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
- Macron “expressed his concern over the tensions that threaten regional stability, undermining the political resolution of crises and our collective fight against terrorism,” the statement said.
- Speaking at a press conference in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said he is ready to sit at a negotiating table to solve the three-month-old crisis.
- For her part, Merkel said that no solution was visible yet but Germany would like to help resolve the crisis.
- Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim held talks in Turkey with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his first trip abroad since the start of the Gulf diplomatic crisis.
- The talks got under way on Thursday at Erdogan’s presidential palace in the capital Ankara, the Turkish presidency said.
- After visiting Turkey, Sheikh Tamim was due to visit Berlin on Friday for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, his first trip to a Western capital since the crisis began. Sheikh Tamim was also due in Paris for talks with the French president.
6:42pm – Turkey and Kuwait voice concern over Gulf crisis
- Turkey and Kuwait have expressed concerns over the ongoing crisis between Saudi-led bloc and Qatar, with Turkey extending its full support to the mediation efforts carried out by the Kuwaiti emir to resolve the crisis.
- This came following a meeting between Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and his Kuwaiti counterpart in Ankara on Thursday.
2:41pm – 100 days have passed since the Gulf blockade was imposed
- This week marks 100 days since four Arab states began a blockade against Qatar, sparking a diplomatic crisis.
- Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt accuse Qatar of supporting extremism, which it denies.
- Saudi Arabia usually takes the lead in Gulf affairs, but what is interesting this time is the prominence of the UAE.
6:00pm – Qatar’s emir to meet Turkish President Erdogan
- Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will hold talks in Ankara on Thursday with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, an ally of Doha in its dispute with Gulf Arab neighbours.
- Turkey’s presidency announced Sheikh Tamim’s trip in a statement on Wednesday but gave no details of the talks, which will coincide with a visit to Ankara by the prime minister of Kuwait, which has sought to mediate in the Gulf Arab dispute.
3:00pm – Negative rating credit for GCC, says Moody’s Investors
- A three-month dispute between Qatar and four Arab countries has had a negative impact on credit for all six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, with Qatar and Bahrain facing the worst impact, Moody’s Investors Service has said.
- More than three months after three Gulf states – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – and Egypt severed diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar, the crisis has created uncertainty in the region, the ratings agency said.
11:30pm – Art exhibition ‘100 Days of Blockade’ unveiled in Doha
- Qatar Museums launched on Tuesday the first stage of the “100 Days of Blockade” art initiative, unveiling five emotive artworks for citizens and residents at Doha Fire Station.
- The powerful artworks, which are showcased on the facade of the Fire Station building, reflect each artists personal take on the blockade.
- The medium of choice was graffiti, evoking its origins as a form of activism and self-expression, which is easily accessible by the broader community.
- The artists involved in this initiative are Mubarak Al Malik, Ali Al Kuwari and Thamer Al Dosari from Qatar; Dimitrje Bugarski from Serbia and Assil Diab from Sudan.
- Diplomats from Qatar and the four states blockading the Gulf nation have exchanged heated words at an Arab League meeting in Cairo on live television.
- During his opening speech, Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad al-Muraikhi referred to Iran as an “honourable country” and said ties had warmed with its neighbour since the blockade.
- In response, Ahmed al-Kattan, Saudi Arabia’s envoy to the Arab League, said: “Congratulations to Iran and soon, God willing, you will regret it.
- The Qatari diplomat lamented Kattan’s tone in the exchange, saying: “[It] is all threats and I don’t think he has the authority to threaten and speak like this.”
- The exchange then descended into a row during which Kattan and Muraikhi each told the other to be quiet.
7:30pm – Minister: Qatar has not missed any oil or gas shipments
- Qatar’s Energy Minister Mohammed al-Sada said on Tuesday his country had not missed any oil or gas shipments despite the blockade imposed by its neighbours.
- “During this blockade, we have never missed a single shipment of oil or gas to any of our consuming partners,” he said at an event in the capital Doha.
- “That shows how committed Qatar is, not only to our economy here and reliability but also to the consuming countries because this is a very strategic commodity,” Sada said.
- The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) has condemned the reported arrest of Muslim preachers and scholars in Saudi Arabia, urging Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz to order their release.
- Salman al-Audah, a prominent Muslim preacher and member of the IUMS’s board of trustees, and more than 20 others “should not be used as pawns in political disputes”, said IUMS in a statement issued late on Monday, referring to the Gulf rift.
- “In regards to the crisis [with] the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, al-Audah has done nothing but call for unity between these brotherly countries,” the statement read, noting that his last tweet urged GCC members to “come together for the sake of their people”.
5:15pm – Sources claim Doha Bank cut staff in the UAE
- Doha Bank has cut about 10 jobs in the United Arab Emirates and plans to put some staff in the region on unpaid leave, sources said, as it copes with the fallout from Qatar’s rift with its Arab neighbours.
- Qatar’s fifth-biggest lender will decide by the end of the year whether to make those going on long-term leave redundant if conditions have not improved, said two of the sources familiar with the matter.
- One source said about 100 staff could be put on leave, while another said it might be as high as 200, although the sources said the final number might be different. The sources declined to be named as the matter is not yet public.
- In a statement to Reuters news agency, Doha Bank said the information was incorrect, but declined to elaborate. The bank employs 1,571 staff, according to its profile on Linkedin.
4:27pm – UAE sheikh seeks to sell Qatar tower
- A company owned by a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family is seeking to sell Dolphin Tower in Doha, the Qatari headquarters of natural gas supplier Dolphin Energy, sources told Reuters news agency.
- Al Ain Properties, owned through an investment vehicle by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Abu Dhabi Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region of the emirate, has within the past two months appointed real estate firm DTZ Qatar to market the 25-storey building, two of the sources said.
- Nobody was immediately available to comment from Al Ain Holding, the parent company of Al Ain Properties, or DTZ Qatar.
4:00pm – Qatar’s emir visits US military base
- Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani visited Doha’s Al Udeid air base – the largest US base in the Middle East on Monday.
- Al Thani discussed US-Qatar defence cooperation and efforts to combat terrorism.
- The Combined Air Operations Center for the US Central Command, or CENTCOM, coordinates military strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIL, also known as ISIS) in both Iraq and Syria.
- Al Udeid is home to more than 10,000 US personel.
- Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Sunday that the the GCC crisis will only be solved through dialogue and that despite challenges and allegations, Qatar is willing to talk.
- He also emphasised that the three-month blockade on Qatar is violating its civil, social and economic rights. “The international community must show responsibility as people are paying the price for these political rifts,” Abdulrahman Al Thani said.
- Denying all allegations against Qatar, Al Thani said the four blockading countries have tried to hide facts and fabricated allegations of Qatar supporting terrorism. He said the only motivation behind the siege was not fighting terrorism but rather interfere in the country’s foreign policy and undermine its sovereignty.
7:00am – Saudi Arabia ‘arrests’ prominent cleric
- A prominent Saudi religious leader, Sheikh Salman al-Audah, has been arrested, according to social media postings on Sunday, but not confirmed by Saudi officials.
- In one of his last Twitter posts, he welcomed a report on Friday suggesting that a three-month-old row between Qatar and four Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia may be resolved.
- “May God harmonise between their hearts for the good of their people,” al-Audah said on Twitter after a report of a telephone call between Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss ways to resolve the rift which began in June.
- Al-Audah, an influential cleric who was imprisoned from 1994-99 for agitating for political change and has 14 million followers on Twitter, appears to have been detained over the weekend, the posting suggested.
7:30pm – NYT debunks fake ISIL statement
- The New York Times on Sunday debunked information spread by official Saudi media outlets a day earlier claiming Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) expressed support for Qatar in the Gulf crisis .
- The US publication said the ISIL statement aiming to link Qatar to terrorism was “apparently fake”.
- Marwan Kabalan, director of policy analysis at Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, told Al Jazeera by spreading false news Saudi Arabia may be diverting attention from a story in the US media about the Saudi embassy’s possible links to the September 11, 2001 attacks.
2:08pm – Russia’s Lavrov urges direct talks
- Arab countries involved in a diplomatic dispute with Qatar should enter into direct talks with Doha to solve the crisis, Russia’s foreign minister said on a trip to Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
- Speaking through an interpreter at a news conference, Sergei Lavrov also called for the unity of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
- Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told the news conference that Qatar needed to show seriousness in finding a solution to the crisis.
10:55am – Russian foreign minister in Saudi Arabia
- Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, is in Saudi Arabia meeting with his Saudi counterpart, Adel al-Jubeir and other officials.
- Lavrov is also expected to visit Jordan
10pm – Qatar’s PM discusses Gulf crisis with Japanese FM
- The prime minister of Qatar, Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani, has held a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono in the Qatari capital of Doha.
- The two leaders discussed the developments in the region, including the ongoing Gulf diplomatic crisis between Qatar and a group of four Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.
- Another issue on the agenda was was of boosting ties between Qatar and Japan.
- Saudi Arabia’s state news agency says that plans to hold talks with Qatar have been suspended, shortly after the emergence of reports that the Qatari emir and the Saudi crown prince spoke over phone to discuss a major diplomatic crisis in the Gulf.
- The call on Friday between by the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – reported by state media from both countries – is believed to be the first official contact between Doha and Riyadh since the beginning of the crisis more than three months ago.
- However, there seems to be a dispute over protocol – apparently, over how Qatar News Agency (QNA) did not menton in its report that it was Doha that had initiated the call.
- The emir of Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s crown prince have held a phone conversation to discuss a major diplomatic crisis in the Gulf, according to state media from both countries.
- The call on Friday between by the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, is believed to be the first official contact between the two countries since the beginning of the crisis more than three months ago.
- The call was held on the basis of coordination with US President Donald Trump, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported in the early hours of Saturday.
- In the phone discussion, the two leaders “stressed the need to resolve this crisis” through dialogue “to ensure the unity and stability” of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), said QNA.
- The Qatari emir welcomed a proposal by the Saudi crown prince to assign two envoys to resolve the dispute in a way that respects the sovereignty of states, QNA added.
- Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has held a phone conversation with US President Donald Trump to discuss the latest developments in the Gulf crisis, in the wake of a visit by Kuwait’s emir to the White House.
- Kuwait has been acting a mediator in the dispute, now in its fourth month.
- During Thursday’s phone call, the emir of Qatar welcomed Trump’s position on the need to resolve this crisis through dialogue to ensure the unity of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), according to Qatar’s state media. He also expressed Doha’s position on resolving “differences through constructive dialogue that does not affect the sovereignty of states”, Qatar News Agency reported.
- A statement published by the White House on Friday said that Trump “underscored the importance of all countries following through on commitments from the Riyadh Summit to maintain unity while defeating terrorism, cutting off funding for terrorist groups, and combatting extremist ideology”.
- The emir of Kuwait says the threat of war between Qatar and Arab nations blockading it for the past three months has been neutralised.
- Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah, the main mediator in the Gulf dispute, spoke in Washington, DC on Thursday at a joint press conference with US President Donald Trump.
- While both sides in the dispute have ruled out the use of armed force, some ordinary Qataris say they worry about the possibility of military action, given the ferocity of the criticism their country has received from media in the four Arab states.
- “What is important is that we have stopped any military action,” Sheikh Sabah said.
- US President Donald Trump has offered to mediate in the three-month diplomatic dispute between Qatar and its neighbours, saying “we will be most successful [against terrorism] with a united” Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
- Speaking at a joint news conference with Kuwait’s emir in Washington, DC, on Thursday, Trump said he supported Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah’s mediation efforts but if that did not manage to resolve the Gulf crisis, he would be “willing to be a mediator”.
- “I think it’s something that’s going to get solved fairly easily,” he said.
- “We call on our GCC and Egyptian allies to focus on our commitments at that Saudi Arabia summit to continue our joint efforts to drive out and defeat terrorists.
- “Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt are all essential US partners in this effort. We have great relationships with all of them right now, maybe better than we’ve ever had.
- “We will be most successful with a united GCC.”
4:20pm – Call for ban on UK MP over anti-Qatar conference
- Concerns are being raised with the UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee over the participation of a British member of parliament at an anti-Qatar conference.
- Daniel Kawczynski is expected to take part in the event in London next week, which is being sponsored by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
- In a letter to the committee, the non-governmental organisation, ‘The London Centre for Public Affairs’, has called for Kawczynski to be banned from any nominations to the foreign policy body.
8:00am – Kuwaiti emir to hold talks with President Trump
10:50pm – Qatar waives visa requirement for Moroccans
- Morocco has been added to a list of countries whose citizens no longer need visas to enter Qatar, official Moroccan media said.
- Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani, who met a Moroccan delegation in Doha on Tuesday, announced that his country “had removed the obligation for Moroccan citizens to obtain a visa”, Morocco’s official MAP news agency said.
- In early August, Qatar introduced a visa-free entry programme for 80 nationalities to stimulate air transport and tourism.
2:30pm – Qatar’s central bank raises yields in three-month, six-month T-bill sale
- Qatar’s central bank said it sold 1 billion Qatari riyals ($274.7 million) worth of treasury bills in a monthly auction on Wednesday, with yields higher than in its previous offer.
- The bank sold 650 million Qatari riyals of three-month notes with a yield of 2.25 percent, higher than the 2.14 percent yield at which the bank sold 750 million riyals one month ago in a sign that the blockade against Qatar continues to exert pressure on liquidity in the Qatari money market.
- It sold 350 million Qatari riyals worth of treasury bills with a six-month maturity and a yield of 2.49 percent, it said on its website.
- A Qatari shipping company is set to launch what it calls the fastest direct service between Doha and the Pakistani port city of Karachi this week, as the Gulf state seeks to establish new trade routes amid a land, air and sea blockade from its Arab neighbours.
- Maritime conglomerate Milaha is overseeing the venture, with the first vessel due to arrive at the newly inaugurated Hamad Port outside the Qatari capital on September 11 following a transit time of four days – compared to a normally six-to-seven-day journey.
- “We have been vigorously ramping up our operations between Qatar and key Asian markets in response to growing demand from traders, importers, and exporters on both sides,” said Abdulrahman Essa Al-Mannai, Milaha president and chief executive officer.
9:00pm – ‘So be it’ if rift with Qatar continues for years: Saudi FM
- Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in London that if the rift with Qatar continued for two years then “so be it”.
- He also lashed out at Iran, which has supported Qatar in the ongoing crisis, saying Tehran’s talk of a possible rapprochement with the kingdom was “laughable”.
- “If Iran wants to have good relations with Saudi Arabia, it has to change its policies. It has to respect international law. At this time, we do not see… that they’re serious about wanting to be a good neighbour,” said Jubeir.
3:00pm – France appoints envoy to mediate
- France’s foreign ministry said that it picked its former ambassador to Saudi Arabia as a special envoy to see how Paris could support mediation efforts in the rift between Qatar and its neighbours.
- France, which has close ties with Egypt and the United Arab Emirates while also being a major arms supplier to Qatar and a key ally of Saudi Arabia, has been relatively discreet on the crisis, largely sticking to calls for calm.
- “I confirm that Bertrand Besancenot, diplomatic advisor to the government, will soon go to the region to evaluate the situation and the best ways to support the mediation and appease tensions between Qatar and its neighbours,” Foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes Romatet-Espagne told reporters in a daily briefing.
12:00pm – Qatar unveils new trading port
- Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has opened the new Hamad Port ahead of schedule as part of a wider plan to achieve food security and economic diversification in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.
- The inaguration of the new port means larger container ships can go directly to Doha rather than docking in the United Arab Emirates, where cargo was transferred to smaller vessels.
- The UAE is one of the countries that have imposed a land, air and sea blockade on Qatar.
- The port, which is playing a vital role in offsetting the impact of the blockade imposed on Qatar since June 5, will provide Qatar with complete independence in its import and export of goods.
7:45pm – Qatar launches direct shipping lines
- Qatar Ports Management Company, Mwani, has expanded its maritime network by launching several direct shipping lines between Hamad Port and a number of ports in the region.
- The new routes connect Qatar to Sohar and Salalah ports in Oman, Shuwaikh Port in Kuwait, Karachi port in Pakistan, Izmir port in Turkey and Mundra and Nava Shiva ports in India.
- The dispute seems to have had little effect on the eastern Black Sea’s now-booming tourism industry. In July, eight cities in Saudi Arabia launched direct flights to Trabzon, the regional hub, to meet demand from Saudi tourists. The UAE and Kuwait also offer direct flights, bypassing the need for tourists to travel through airports in Istanbul.
- In the first five months of this year, more than 22,000 Arab tourists visited Uzungol, a village with a permanent residential population of fewer than 2,000 people, according to the Trabzon Chamber of Commerce. More than 70 hotels and apartments catering to a range of budgets have sprung up in the village in less than a decade.
10:00pm – ‘Ball in Qatar’s court’, says Saudi prince
- Qatar could end a political standoff with a Saudi-led group of nations if it stops interfering in the internal affairs of neighbouring countries, Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal says.
- “The ball is in Qatar’s court and they have to perform on that,” the former head of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency said in an interview with Bloomberg TV from the Ambrosetti Forum in Cernobbio, Italy on Friday.
05:40pm – Qatari FM meets Belgian counterpart in Brussels
- The foreign ministers of Qatar and Belgium have held talks in the Belgian capital of Brussels about the fight against armed groups and the Gulf’s diplomatic crisis.
- “We are very open to help … organise a possible dialogue in the region,” Didier Reynders, Belgian foreign minister, said.
- For his part, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Qatar’s foreign minister, said that despite Kuwait’s mediation efforts, blockading nations have not responded “since the crisis started 90 days ago.
- “There is nothing being provided, neither to Washington nor to Kuwait until now to show any legitimate grievances for all the measures they have taken.”
09:05pm – Kuwaiti emir to meet Trump as Gulf crisis continues
- The emir of Kuwait will hold talks with US President Donald Trump in Washington, DC, next week, according to the Kuwaiti state media, as a three-month-old diplomatic crisis splits the Gulf.
- “They are claiming that Qatar is interfering in their internal politics, there is no any thing against Qatar. Qatar never accepts to interfere to any country’s politics, and doesn’t accept others to interfere in our politics,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdelrahman Al Thani after a meeting with members of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.
06:50pm – Qatari FM: We don’t accept interference in our politics
- Qatar’s foreign minister has called on the Gulf countries that have cut ties with it to stop attempting to influence his country’s foreign policy.
10am – ‘No proof’ of claims against Qatar
- Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told Indian CNN-News18 on Wednesday that Qatar shows zero tolerance towards “terrorism”, its sympathisers, financers and supporters.
- Al Thani also said Qatar has been the most developed country in the Gulf region for 20 years. It is home to many foreign universities, the religious landscape is varied and everyone practices religion freely.
- “Qatar has evolved in its own way and the siege we have been facing is an incentive for us to move forward towards development policy”.
00:35am – Trump speaks to Saudi King, urges end to Gulf row
- US President Donald Trump has held a phone conversation with Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and called for a diplomatic resolution to the Gulf crisis, the White House said in a statement.
- “The president urged that all parties to the Qatar dispute find a diplomatic resolution that follows through on their commitments made at the Riyadh summit, to maintain unity while fighting terrorism,” the statement said.
06:05pm – IMF says Qatar’s response to blockade is effective
- Qatar has acted effectively in protecting its economy against the blockade imposed by other Arab countries, an International Monetary Fund official said on Wednesday after a week-long visit to Doha.
- “The impact on banks’ balance sheets was mitigated by liquidity injections by the Qatar central bank and increased public sector deposits,” Mohammed El Qorchi said in a statement.
- “These reactions reflected effective coordination and collaboration among key government agencies,” he said, adding that authorities acted quickly to reroute trade and establish new sources of food supply.
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has expressed Moscow’s support for Kuwait’s mediation efforts to defuse a three-month long diplomatic crisis in the Gulf.
- “We welcome all initiatives to resolve the Gulf crisis, and we support the Kuwaiti efforts in that direction,” Lavrov said during a joint press conference with his Qatari counterpart.
- Ibrahim Fraihat, a Qatar-based analyst, said Russia was backing the Kuwaiti initiative in a bid to fill a regional vacuum created by the US’ lack of clear policy in helping to end the dispute.
1:00pm – Qatari FM: Awaiting response from blockading countries
- Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal attended the news conference with Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov and Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the Qatari foreign minister:
- “Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said that his government has called for dialogue with the blockading countries on at least 12 different occasions, whereas the blockading countries are yet to respond to a single request, the most important one coming from the emir of Kuwait, who is trying to mediate in the crisis.
- “Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have yet to respond either positively or negatively to that request. Sheikh Mohammed said this indicated the lack of cooperation and their insistence to not find a solution to the crisis, and in fact make it drag on as long as possible.”
11:55pm – Asia Pacific Forum backs Qatar’s NHRC
- The Asia Pacific Forum (APF), a coalition of 24 national human rights institutions from across the region has expressed its solidarity with Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) following a complaint submitted in Geneva.
- Saudi Arabia and its allies, who have cut ties with Qatar and imposed a land, sea and air embargo against it, filed the complaint earlier in August in a bid to have the committee stripped of its “A” rating in the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) list. GANHRI has rejected the request.
- The APF congratulated the NHRC for carrying out its work in a professional manner throughout the crisis and stressed that it was always ready to support it.
- In its statement, the APF also expressed concern regarding the damages caused by the blockade to thousands of people who have mixed-citizenship families in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE.
12:15pm – Qatar central bank says banking sector is strong
- Qatari banks are capable of withstanding the pressure of the blockade imposed by other Arab states, the governor of Qatar’s central bank has said after Fitch Ratings lowered the Gulf state’s credit rating.
- Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al Thani, in a statement on Tuesday, said routine stress tests show the banking sector is strong. Qatari banks are highly solvent, profitable and liquid, he said.
- The central bank has taken extra measures in response to the blockade, and believes Fitch Ratings will change its decision in the very near future, the statement added.
- Fitch cut the country’s credit rating by one notch to AA-minus with a negative outlook on Monday.
7:30pm – Qatar may cut capital spending because of blockade – Fitch
- Qatar may be forced to reduce its capital spending on economic projects and infrastructure if damage to its economy from the blockade intensifies, Fitch Ratings has said as it cut the country’s credit rating by one notch to AA-minus with a negative outlook.
- Fitch noted that even before the blockade, Qatar had shrunk its capital spending plans for 2014-2024 to $130bn from $180bn in response to low oil and gas prices.
- “The government has prepared scenarios for further cuts to capital spending in case oil prices fall again or in case pressures from the embargo intensify,” it said.
- Fitch predicted the Qatari government’s net foreign assets would fall to 146 percent of gross domestic product this year from 185 percent last year, as the government moves money into local banks to offset outflows due to the blockade.
3:30pm – Russia’s FM visiting Gulf Arab states over Qatar crisis
9:20pm – UN chief visits Kuwait amid GCC crisis
- Antonio Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general, has visited Kuwait as part of a tour of the Middle East.
- In a meeting with Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, the UN boss expressed his gratitude to Kuwait for playing the mediator role in the Gulf diplomatic crisis.
- He said the UN fully supported its position and also praised the country’s leadership for its humanitarian work.
3:15pm – Hamad Port to officially open in September
- The Ministry of Transport and Communication announced that Hamad Port will be officially inaugurated in the first week of September.
- In a statement, the ministry said that Hamad Port will be the largest port in the Middle East and will span an area of 28.5 square kilometres.
4:15am – UN Secretary-General expected in Kuwait to discuss Gulf crisis
11:00pm – Report shows 2,400 Qataris prevented from Hajj
- Qatar’s National Human Rights Commission issued a report showing that 2,400 Muslims in the country applied for permits to attend Hajj in Mecca but have been prevented from going because Saudi authorities failed to acknowledge Doha’s formal request for their attendance.
- “With the time for performing the fifth pillar of Islam approaching, these measures remained in a clear violation to the right of citizens of the State of Qatar and its Muslim residents who want to perform Al Hajj,” Qatar News Agency quoted the NHRC report as saying.
2:30pm – Qatari ambassador back in Iran
- Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency reported that Ambassador Ali Hamad Al-Sulaiti arrived in Tehran on Friday and began working Saturday morning
- Qatar pulled its ambassador to Iran in early 2016 in a show of solidarity after attacks on two Saudi Arabian diplomatic posts in Iran following the Saudi execution of a prominent Shia cleric
- Qatar and Iran share a massive offshore natural gas field that requires communication between the countries
4:50am – Qatari FM holds talks with British counterpart
- Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani discussed the Gulf crisis with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Friday, according to a statement from foreign minister’s office.
- The pair discussed recent developments and embraced new paths to enhance bilateral relations between the two countries.
- For Muslim pilgrims in Qatar who hoped to perform one of the pillars of Islam, the annual Hajj that began this week is out of reach. This is because Saudi Arabia – which overseas and manages Islam’s two holiest sites in Mecca and Medina – has made it impossible for them to go.
- The Qatari Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, which regulates and organises the annual Hajj for Qatari citizens and residents, announced it hasn’t received responses from its Saudi counterpart on travel logistics or security guarantees.
6:00pm – Grand Mosque imam condemns Muslim discord ahead of Hajj
- The imam of Mecca’s Grand Mosque denounced those who “cause conflict among Muslims” in his last Friday sermon before the annual Hajj pilgrimage as rifts widen among Gulf neighbours.
- “Anyone who causes conflict and discord among Muslims ignores the blessing of harmony, imitates those who lived in ignorance [before Islam], harms his people and cheats his nation,” Sheikh Saleh Mohammed al-Taleb told the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who have flocked to Mecca from around the world to perform the Hajj next week.
4:30pm – UAE foreign minister accuses Qatar of ‘adolescent behaviour’
- Qatar’s decision to return its ambassador to Iran “embarrasses Doha and reveals its political tactics”, United Arab Emirates foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said. He questioned the reasoning behind Doha’s move to restore diplomatic ties with Tehran.
- Qatar’s “soverign decision should not be shy or confused, but its arrogance and adolescent behaviour makes it so”, Gargash tweeted. “It’s justification is not convincing.”
2:55pm – Turkey arrests Qatar news agency hacking suspects
- Five suspected computer hackers have been arrested in Turkey in connection with an attack on the state Qatar News Agency (QNA) in April.
- QNA website was hackedand inflammatory comments attributed to Qatar’s Emir were broadcast on news channels in the UAE and Saudi Arabia – despite the Qatari government repeatedly rejecting the fake reports. The hacking preceded the blockade imposed on Qatar by Saudi, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.
- “Our friends in Turkey answered us a short time ago. Five people were arrested and they are being investigated. The prosecutors in Qatar are working with the Turkish authorities to follow this case,” said Ali al-Marri, Qatar’s general prosecutor.
3:30am – Kushner spoke of US-Qatar ‘close relationship’ during Doha visit
- Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, discussed the “close relationship” between Qatar and the US during a visit to Doha on Monday, according to the state department.
- State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that “the parties discussed the importance of the peace effort to countering terrorists and extremists”.
- Kushner is leading a delegation to the Middle East on behalf of Trump. He also with other Gulf leaders.
11pm – Qatar links tit-for-tat Chad embassy closure to Gulf crisis
- Qatar ordered the embassy of Chad be closed and gave its diplomats 72 hours to leave, the Qatari foreign ministry said on Thursday, accusing the African country of joining a “campaign of blackmail” with its decision to shutter the Qatari embassy.
- Chad said on Wednesday it was giving Qatari diplomats 10 days to leave the country.
- The director of the Qatari foreign ministry’s media department said the timing of the Chadian decision shows that it “comes within the campaign of political blackmail against the State of Qatar with the intention of joining the siege countries for very well known reasons”.
6:00pm – Iran welcomes return of diplomatic ties with Qatar
- Iran has welcomed Qatar’s decision to return its ambassador to Tehran as a “positive and logical” step.
- “Their ambassador had been recalled to Doha for certain consultations, and his return to Tehran is considered a logical and positive move and decision,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi, according to the state-run IRNA news.
12:00pm – Qatar to return its ambassador to Iran
- Qatar said on Wednesday its ambassador to Iran, who was withdrawn in January last year, would return to Iran.
- “Qatar announced that its ambassador to Tehran will return to resume his diplomatic duties,” the Qatari foreign ministry’s information office said in a statement on its website, adding that Doha wanted to strengthen ties with the Islamic republic.
10:55pm – European monitor calls for pressure on Saudi Arabia over Hajj
- The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor has urged Jan Figel, the European Union Special Envoy for the Promotion of Freedom of Religion outside the Union, to call on Saudi Arabia to lift the conditions it imposed for the arrival of pilgrims of Qatar to its territory to perform Hajj this year.
- The Geneva-based Monitor, in a letter sent to Figel, called for an immediate intervention to end the crisis of pilgrims and to exert pressure for not using Hajj as a tool for political gain, and not to impose conditions on pilgrims.
8:40pm – UN chief, Qatar FM hold phone conversation
- Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has held a telephone conversation with Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations.
- The Qatari diplomat briefed Guterres on the latest developments in the Gulf crisis and the measures taken by the Saudi-led group of countries against Doha.
- The two leaders also discussed boosting cooperation in other areas.
11:45pm – Qatar fearful over treatment of Hajj pilgrims in Saudi
- Qatar said it is worried Hajj pilgrims from the emirate face being badly treated if they travel to Saudi Arabia as the row over arrangements for the religious event intensified.
- The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs said that considering the ongoing Gulf diplomatic impasse, it was concerned about the safety of pilgrims travelling from Doha in the next few days.
- “Given the current situation, it (the ministry) remains concerned and fearful for Qatari pilgrims and a repeat of the harassment of Qatari citizens in June,” read the statement.
- Early in June, local media reports claimed Qataris were stopped from entering the Grand Mosque in Mecca.
- The Hajj to Mecca, the most revered site in Islam, is a pilgrimage that Muslims must perform at least once in their lifetimes if they are able to do so.
- Dubai TV has aired a false report claiming anti-government demonstrations took place in Doha, Qatar, and alleged that troops – including soldiers from Turkey – sprayed tear gas at protesters.
- Qatar’s government press office on Tuesday dismissed the report as “fake news” in a statement sent to Al Jazeera, a day after the broadcast which has now been circulated online.
5:30am – Senegal restores its ambassador to Qatar
- Senegal announced on Tuesday that it has reappointed its ambassador to Qatar who had been recalled on June 6 amid the Gulf crisis.
- “Senegal has decided to send its ambassador to Doha back to Qatar,” tweeted Ahmed bin Saeed Al Rumaihi, Director of the Information Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Senegal.
- Qatar’s official news agency QNA reported that the decision was made after a phone call between Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Senegal’s President Macky Sall.
- The two leaders also discussed boosting relations in various fields and the recent developments in the Middle East, particularly, the Gulf crisis.
11:15pm – Qatar slams Saudi Arabia’s Hajj flight restrictions
- A strongly worded statement from Doha’s foreign ministry said it was surprised that Riyadh had decided to restrict the transport of Hajj pilgrims from Qatar only through Saudi Arabian Airlines. The hajj to Mecca, the most revered site in Islam, is a pilgrimage that Muslims must perform at least once.
- “Limiting the transfer of Qatari pilgrims to Saudi Arabian Airlines only is unprecedented, illogical, surprising and contravenes the teachings of Islam,” said the statement from the ministry’s information office director, Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Rumaihi.
- Earlier, Doha had denied a claim from Saudi Arabian Airlines accusing Qatari authorities of refusing to allow one of its flights to land at Hamad International Airport on Sunday.
12:50am – Civil Aviation Authority denies Qatar refused to allow Saudi Airlines to fly Qatari pilgrims
- An official source from Qatar’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has denied claims made by media outlets in the blockading nations that Qatar refused to allow Saudi Airlines to fly Qatari Hajj pilgrims.
- The CAA received a request from Saudi Airlines in which they asked to carry Qatari pilgrims, and advised them to coordinate this request with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs through the Qatari Hajj Delegation, reported the Qatar News Agency.
- The CAA stated their response was in accordance with procedures followed in the past.
7:35pm – Saudi carrier claims Qatar has not yet approved Hajj flights
- Saudi Arabia says its aircraft have not been given permission to land in Doha to pick up Qatari pilgrims for the annual Hajj, news agencies reported. A Qatari government spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
- Along with reopening its land border with Qatar, Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday that King Salman had ordered the dispatch of a Saudi Arabia Airlines plane to fly Qatari pilgrims to Jeddah at his own expense so that they could go on to Mecca, Islam’s holiest city.
- But the first flight has not been able to take off from Saudi Arabia because it had not yet received landing permission in Doha, said Saleh al-Jasser, the general director of the airline, according to Saudi state news agency SPA.
6:45pm – Doha claims victory after Saudi-led group files complaint against Qatar human rights body
- The Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) has rejected a request by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, and Egypt to get Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) downgraded, according to NHRC chairman Ali bin Samikh al-Marri.
- Marri thanked GANHRI for supporting the work of the NHRC and urged civil society groups in the four countries to work with the committee to address the worsening humanitarian conditions imposed on GCC citizens due to the measures against Qatar.
- Earlier in August, the four countries, which have cut ties with Qatar and imposed a land, sea and air embargo against it, had submitted a complaint against NHRC to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in a bid to have the committee removed from the “A” rating of the GANHRI list.
- On Monday, several international human rights groups sent a letter to the UNHCR, asking them to reject the four countries’ request.
- “As human rights organisations, we call upon your esteemed office to reject this complaint, we also hope that you will call on the four countries, through their permanent representatives at the UN headquarters in Geneva, to stop harassment on human rights defenders, and work to upgrade their national bodies, so as to work efficiently to defend the human and his rights, in accordance with international standards in this regard, and to unite to promote human rights in the region especially and in the world in general,” said the letter.
- Saudis have been told to expose the names and identities of anyone showing sympathy with Qatar on Twitter, with a senior Saudi official vowing to “follow” every name reported via the social media site.
- Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s state minister for foreign affairs, was one of the first to express support for the blacklist, tweeting: “Saud al-Qahtani is an important voice … and his tweet on the ‘blacklist’ is extremely important.”
- The UAE has banned all expression of sympathy with Qatar, making it a criminal offence punishable with up to 15 years in prison.
12:30pm – Qatari FM decries ‘escalation’ by Saudi-led blockade nations
- “The four siege countries have not responded up to now,” said Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.
- “Rather, we have seen continuing escalation and attempt to market the accusation that Qatar supports terrorism without providing any evidence, until they reached a stage of despair to buy a few seconds in the Western channels to publish their advertisements. Unfortunately, this is their constant behaviour since the beginning of the crisis.”
11:30am – Qatar balks at calls to end military ties to Turkey
- Qatar’s ambassador to Ankara said calls by a Saudi-led block for Doha to cut defence ties with Turkey is an “obvious intervention of internal affairs”.
- “This is against all international law and norms,” said Salem bin Mubarak Al Shafi in a written statement on Saturday about the demand to close a Turkish base in the country.
- “The closure of this base and demanding that our defence relations with Turkey be interrupted would be an obvious intervention of our internal affairs, infringement of our sovereignty rights, and the assumption of tutelage over us.”
11:00am – Condemnation after Al Arabiya depicts Saudi jet shooting down Qatar Airways plane
- Reaction was swift to the broadcasting by Al Arabiya TV of a graphic simulation showing a Saudi fighter jet shooting a missile at a Qatar Airways passenger aircraft.
- Vipin Narang, associate professor of political science at MIT, tweeted: “This is some outrageous stuff from Al Arabiya, threatening to shoot down a Qatar Airways passenger jet if in Saudi.”
- Aviation analyst Alex Macheras said on Twitter, “It’s shocking that a news channel would think it’s acceptable to create and illustrate a passenger airline aircraft being blown out of the sky.”
10:45am – Bahrain’s opposition denies colluding with Qatar on coup
- Bahrain’s main opposition has denied media reports that accused Qatar of attempting to overthrow the island kingdom’s government.
- Al Wefaq, a banned Shia opposition group, said claims by Bahraini media that its leader Sheikh Ali Salman and Qatar’s former prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani, conspired to incite protests during a phone call in 2011 were “fabricated”.
- The telephone call was made as part of a mediation effort led by Qatar and backed by the United States, Al Wefaq said in a statement on Saturday.
- Qatar has filed a complaint before the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), against what it calls attempts to “terrorise” travellers who are flying on its national flag carrier.
- In a letter sent to the Montreal-based United Nations agency on Saturday, Doha said the Saudi-led group that has imposed a blockade on Qatar has violated international law by broadcasting a news report showing the shooting down of a Qatar Airways passenger aircraft.
- The United Arab Emirates ambassador to the United States, Yousef al-Otaiba, berated Saudi Arabia’s leadership, a series of emails leaked by a computer hacking group “Global Leaks” reveal.
- In a 2008 email chain with his wife Abeer Shoukry, published by the Middle East Eye news website on Friday, Otaiba described the kingdom’s leaders as “f****ing coo coo”.
- The correspondence also makes a case for Mohammed bin Salman over his cousin and former crown prince, Mohammed bin Nayef.
6:15pm – Qatar concerned about safety of citizens in Saudi Arabia during Hajj
- Qatar expressed concern about the safety of its citizens in Saudi Arabia following the reopening of the countries’ border enabling Qataris to attend the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca.
- “The level of tension between the two nations, the language and the tone of the Saudi media spreading hatred against Qatari people represents a great concern for us,” Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said during a visit to Norway.
- “Those people crossing the border right now are under the responsibility of the Saudi authorities for their security and safety,” Sheikh Mohammed said, adding that “more than 100” citizens had crossed since Thursday.
3:00pm – Preparations for 2022 World Cup in Qatar ‘unaffected by blockade’
- The head of the committee responsible for the 2022 football World Cup in Qatar says the Gulf crisis has had little impact on preparations.
- In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera, Hassan al-Thawadi said various construction projects, including eight stadiums and a $35bn metro and rail system, are “on schedule”.
- “No doubt that the blockade has caused an inconvenience,” al-Thawadi said, noting that Qatar could not work with some GCC companies that were contracted as suppliers or service providers. “We have very quickly moved onto Plan B, found alternative sources of supply – alternative routes of supply as well.”
12:30pm – Qatar enlists US firm to combat terror financing
- Qatar’s anti-money laundering agency has enlisted an advisory firm run by former US treasury department officials to boost the country’s fight against “terrorism financing”.
- Qatar’s National Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Committee (NALMC) is partnering with Washington based Financial Integrity Network (FIN), headed by Daniel Glaser, who served as the Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes from 2011-2017.
- Sheikh Fahad Faisal Al Thani, the chairman of NAMLC, said on Thursday that Qatar was “strongly committed to combating illicit financing activities” and that the partnership with FIN will “ensure that Qatar builds on its successes to date in preventing and disrupting these illegal activities”.
10:10am – Saudi Arabia urged to clarify safety measures for Qatari pilgrims
- Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said Saudi Arabia is yet to clarify details of how it will receive Qatari pilgrims and steps it will take to assure their safety.
- Speaking in Stockholm on Thursday, Sheikh Mohammed welcomed Saudi Arabia’s decision to reopen the two countries’ border to Qatari pilgrims as a positive step towards ending the siege on Doha.
- The Qatari government will communicate with Saudi Arabia on the safety of the Qatari Hajj mission, he said, and urged Saudi Arabia not to politicize the Hajj pilgrimage.
- “We hope that these steps will continue, as well as not involving human matters in the political dispute re-uniting the mixed families,” he added.
11:05pm – Qatari pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia
- Qatari pilgrims began arriving in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, Saudi media reported, after Riyadh said it was opening up its border and airports for those attending the annual hajj pilgrimage despite a diplomatic rift that cut travel ties between the two neighbours.
- Doha welcomed the Saudi decision to open the frontier and provide flights for Qatari pilgrims, but regarded the move as politically motivated, Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said.
- Qatar welcomed Saudi Arabia’s decision to reopen the two countries’ border to Qatari pilgrims, while lashing out at Riyadh’s “politicisation” of religious freedoms.
- “Regardless of the manner in which Qataris were banned from the pilgrimage, which was politicised, and the manner in which they were again permitted to make the pilgrimage, which was also politicised … the government of Qatar welcomes the decision and will respond positively,” Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said at press conference on Thursday with his Swedish counterpart in Stockholm.
- Saudi Arabia news sites have reported that King Salman has ordered measures to allow Qatari pilgrims in to perform Hajj in Mecca
- The King has reportedly ordered that Saudi aircraft be sent to Doha to accommodate Qatari pilgrims at his own expense, in addition to opening up the land border
2:30pm – Qatar sovereign fund not planning asset sales, CEO says
- The Qatar Investment Authority does not plan to liquidate its assets around the world and will soon announce major new international investments, the sovereign wealth fund’s chief executive told local media on Wednesday.
- “We have just completed a tour of several countries around the world and you will hear about significant investments soon,” Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud Al-Thani was quoted as saying by the Lusail newspaper. He did not give details of the new investments.
9:30am – Qatar’s economy remains strong, say experts
- Qatar’s economy is strong enough to weather the GCC crisis, according to experts interviewed by the AFP news agency.
- “In the medium- to long-term, perhaps people who live here will feel” the effects, but for the time being, “we haven’t felt any big difference”, said Mohamed Ammar, who heads the Qatari Businessmen Association.
- Analysts have faith in the capacity of Qatar, holder of the world’s third-largest natural gas reserves after giants Russia and Iran, to withstand a long crisis.
- “Qatar is the most resilient country in the Middle East by far,” said Andreas Krieg, a strategic risk analyst and assistant professor at King’s College London university.
8:15pm – Qatar FM: Lot of time needed to rebuild trust in Gulf
- Qatar’s foreign minister said on Tuesday it will take a “lot of time” to rebuild any trust between the Gulf Cooperation Council members because of the region’s continuing diplomatic crisis.
- Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said: “Qatar has always been one of the founders of the GCC organisation and we still consider that this has a great importance for all of us in the region.”
- “This organisation has been built on a strategical security and been built on trust. Unfortunately, what happened lately with this crisis, this factor is missing now and needs a lot of time to rebuild the trust again. We hope that it’s restored.”
11:30am – UAE FM Gargash calls Qatar ‘arrogant’
- The United Arab Emirates’ Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash has called Qatar “arrogant” after a Qatari official accused the blockading nations of carrying out a “smear campaign” against Doha.
- “It is the country’s arrogant position to accuse the United Arab Emirates’ of leading the campaign against it and of opening fronts, including with Saudi Arabia, and at the same time to think that undermining the security of Bahrain and Egypt is a natural right. This is the logic of illogical,” Gargash said on Twitter.
- Gargash said Doha’s reliance on outside intervention to resolve the conflict is “incorrect behavior” and only leads to prolonging the situation.
9am – Qatari envoy says three-month blockade has ‘failed’
- Qatar’s special envoy on counter-terrorism Mutlaq Al Qahtani says the blockade by neighbouring countries has not succeeded after three months.
- In an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal titled “Qatar Will Not Be Intimidated“, Qahtani also derided “Saudi and Emirati hypocrisy”.
- “If Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – the countries driving the confrontation, despite the appearance of a unified bloc – hoped to bring Qatar to its knees, they have failed. If they hoped to damage Qatar’s reputation and improve their own, they have failed. If they hoped to enhance their relationship with the US at Qatar’s expense, again, they have failed,” he wrote.
- “Instead, the anti-Qatar smear campaign has put a spotlight on the shameful history and unsavory practices of the Saudis and Emiratis themselves. Saudi Arabia justifies the blockade by alleging that Qatari authorities support extremists and terrorist organisations. But the accusation only reminds observers that the Saudis have consistently failed to prevent the radicalisation of their citizens.”
11:45pm – Rights groups call on UN to reject Saudi-led complaint against Qatar human rights body
- Several international human rights groups sent a letter to the UNHCR on Monday, asking them to reject a move by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, and Egypt to have the National Human Rights Committee of Qatar removed from the ‘A’ rating of the International Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions list.
- “As human rights organisations, we call upon your esteemed office to reject this complaint, we also hope that you will call on the four countries, through their permanent representatives at the UN headquarters in Geneva, to stop harassment on human rights defenders, and work to upgrade their national bodies, so as to work efficiently to defend the human and his rights, in accordance with international standards in this regard, and to unite to promote human rights in the region especially and in the world in general,” said the letter.
- The groups that signed the letter included: Free Voice Organization for the Defense of Human Rights – Paris; Swiss Organization for the Protection of Human Rights – Geneva; International Council for Justice, Equality and Peace – COJEP international – France; Association of Torture Victims in Tunisia – Geneva; Solidarity for Human Rights – Geneva; International Observatory for Societies and Sustainable Development – Tunis; International Coalition for Human Rights and Development – Geneva; and Libya Watch – London.
5:15pm – Report: Saudi crown prince wants out of Yemen war
- The UK-based Middle East Eye has reported that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told two former US officials that he “wants out” of the war in Yemen.
- In a leaked email obtained by the news website, the crown prince also known as MBS, reportedly spoke to Martin Indyk, the former US ambassador to Israel, and Stephen Hadley, the national security advisor during the administration of George W Bush, about his intentions.
- The details of the discussion were contained in an email between Indyk and Yousef Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates’ ambasador to Washington. In the email exchange, Indyk was also quoted as writing thatMBS “is OK with the US engaging Iran as long as it is co-ordinated in advance and the objectives are clear.”
4:45pm – Qatar opens new sea route with Karachi
- Qatar’s state news agency is reporting that the country has launched a new route between Hamad Port and Pakistan’s Port of Karachi on Sunday.
- Qatar said the new route will bloost trade between the two countries, and offer “fast and secure” corridor for importers and exporters, with transit time of six days from Qatar to Karachi and eights days from Pakistan.
3:00pm – Four states behind blockade gave US assurances its firms would remain unaffected.
- Reuters is reporting that the four Arab states responsible for a blockade on goods entering Qatar gave the US assurances that its firms would not be affected if they continued to do business with Doha.
- Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and Egypt sent US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson a letter in July reassuring him that US companies would not be affected by the boycott, the report says, citing “sources with knowledge of the letter”.
1:00pm – Qatar human rights group demands unhindered access to Hajj pilgrimage
- In an interview with the Qatari daily, al-Raya, Dr Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri, the head of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), demanded that Saudi Arabia lift all land and air restrictions on Qatar-based pilgrims traveling to Mecca for the Hajj pilgrimage.
- The NHRC has also expressed concerns about the fate of workers for Qatari-owned businesses in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE, after their employers were expelled.
- The group says hundreds of people are trapped in the countries and are living in difficult conditions.
10:25pm – Saudi Arabia, UAE ‘tried to host’ Taliban first
- Abdulla Anas, a former friend of the late al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, told the Middle East Eye on Friday that he was “bewildered” by Saudi Arabia’s claim that Qatar supported terrorism by allowing theTaliban to open an office in Doha.
- Anas said Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) tried to host the Taliban before the armed group set up an office in Qatar..
- Anas, an Algerian who now lives in London, told Middle East Eye that he made a series of visits to Saudi Arabia between 2006 and 2008 in an effort to bring warring factions in Afghanistan to the negotiating table.
05:30pm – Qatar to Saudi Arabia: Protect rights of Qatari pilgrims
- Ali Bin Samikh Al Marri of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee has called on Saudi Arabia to make sure its citizens can perform the Hajj without any problems.
- Al Marri said Saudi Arabia should “remove all obstacles and iron out all difficulties”, calling for the establishment of direct flights from Doha to Jeddah, as well as opening of an inland entry port for low-income pilgrims, who cannot afford to travel to Saudi Arabia by air.
- “If those obstacles are not removed, then the Saudi Authorities are proving that are not willing to enable pilgrims from Qatar to perform the Hajj rituals this year.”
2:30pm – Swiss human rights group raises concern of Hajj restrictions on Qataris
- The Swiss Organization for the Protection of Human Rights says Saudi authorities plan to impose contstraints on Qatari citizens attempting to travel to the kingdom to perform the Hajj pilgrimage.
- “Saudi Arabia, by taking such arbitrary measures, which are not based on any moral or legal basis, prevents innocent people who have no relation with all these political differences from performing their religion rituals, which is in violation of international law,” the group said in a statement on Saturday.
1pm – Former liaison between Gulf states and the Taliban: Saudi Arabia keen on Taliban office
- A former Afghan mujahideen fighter says Saudi Arabia was interested in hosting a Taliban office in the country, the Middle East Eye reports.
- Abdullah Anas says he made multiple visits to Saudi Arabia between 2006 and 2008 and met senior officials, including the-then head of intelligence, Prince Muqrin, to help establish a Taliban office.
- He says the meetings were part of an effort to bring all factions in Afghanistan to the table for peace talks.
- Anas is an Algerian who fought under Afghan mujahideen leader Ahmed Shah Massoud.
6:00pm – Qatar waives visas for 80 nationalities
- Qatar has announced a programme to allow visa-free entry for citizens of 80 countries, in order to encourage air transport and tourism.
- Nationals from dozens of countries in Europe and elsewhere including India, Lebanon, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States only need present a valid passport to enter Qatar.
- “The visa exemption scheme will make Qatar the most open country in the region,” Hassan al-Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development officer at Qatar Tourism Authority said.
- Nationals of 33 countries will be allowed to stay for 180 days and the other 47 for up to 30 days.
11:15pm – Qatar and UPU address disruption in postal service
- Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti, Qatar’s minister of transport and communications, met on Tuesday with Bishar Hussein, the director general of the Universal Postal Union (UPU).
- The meeting comes in response to the complaint submitted by Qatar to the UPU, concerning the violations of the constitution and conventions of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) by the blockading countries, which is the first of its kind in the world and a dangerous precedent for the UPU charters.
- The officials discussed the violations of UPU regulations, particularly Article 4 of the Union’s conventions, regarding the freedom of transit of postal and postal mail.
11:10pm – NHRC discusses Gulf crisis with head of Arab Permanent Committee on Human Rights
- Ali bin Smaikh Al Marri, the chairman of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) met in the capital Doha on Tuesday with Amjad Shammout, the head of the Arab Permanent Committee on Human Rights.
- The meeting dealt with the repercussions of the blockade against Qatar on human rights, the humanitarian situation of the citizens of Qatar and its residents, according to Qatar’s state news agency.
- A senior MP of Turkey’s governing party told Al Jazeera that Turkish presence in Qatar creates “a balance in the region” as military forces of the two countries held military exercises.
- “Turkey is protecting its own interests through the base in Qatar, rather than taking sides between the parties at odds. And Ankara’s interests require stability in the region, therefore Turkey would be against an attack on Saudi Arabia as much as Qatar,” Yasin Aktay said on Tuesday.
1:15pm – US envoys arrive in Gulf for talks on GCC crisis
- Two US envoys have arrived in Kuwait at the start of a tour of the Gulf aimed at resolving the GCC crisis.
- Kuwait News Agency reported late on Monday that retired US Marine General Anthony Zinni and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Timothy Lenderking met with Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled al-Jarallah.
- The envoys, who will also meet with leaders in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt over the coming days, reiterated US support for Kuwait during the mediation process.
- Qatar Airways flights now have temporary access to a new route over UAE airspace, according to an announcement made on the Federal Aviation Administration’s NOTAM (A Notice to Airmen) database.
- The move follows a meeting last week with the UN aviation agency’s government council. Contingency routes were planned as part of a preliminary agreement reached earlier this month.
- Access to the new route began on Monday and ends on November 9. The route only affects inbound flights.
- Another NOTAM notice indicated that an additional route, effective August 17, may be opened, but no further details were given.
9:30pm – NCHR: Israel’s decision on Al Jazeera shows its alignment with blockading states
- The National Committee for Human Rights in Qatar has said in a statement on Monday that it considers Israel’s decision to close down the Al Jazeera office “a dangerous precedent illustrating the Israeli occupier’s alignment with actions taken by the countries blockading Qatar, showing their utter disregard for calls by the international community that they respect the right to freedom of expression and opinion and the right to information”.
- “The National Committee for Human Rights in the State of Qatar affirms that it will work with its partner organisations at the International Conference for Freedom of Expression towards international mobilisation to limit such violations by the Israeli occupier and the countries blockading [Qatar] that have affected freedom of expression, and to implement the recommendations from the abovementioned conference.”
7:20pm – StanChart CEO: Gulf rift puts Dubai finance hub at risk
- The boss of Standard Chartered has warned that Dubai risks damaging its status as a financial centre as a result of the trade boycott of Qatar by a Saudi-led bloc, which includes the United Arab Emirates.
- Standard Chartered is a major lender across the Middle East and CEO Bill Winters said it could become increasingly difficult for Dubai to act as a comprehensive regional hub for international companies’ Gulf operations if the tension in the region continued.
- “There is a lot of benefit we get from having a Dubai hub, we are looking to see what the effect of this will be,” he told Reuters. “There is a risk of turning away from the UAE.”
7:15pm – Qatar shipper Milaha plans base in Oman
- Qatar Navigation (Milaha), a top Doha-based shipping and logistics group, said it was moving its regional trans-shipment hub from Dubai to the Omani port of Sohar after a diplomatic crisis in the region disrupted Qatar’s trade.
- Milaha is setting up a warehousing and logistics operation at Sohar, on Oman’s northern coast, and is exploring other opportunities to expand in that country, the company said on Monday.
- The plan suggests Qatar is making long-term preparations to cope with sanctions imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt.
10:30am – Israel backs Saudi-led bloc’s Al Jazeera stance
- Israel has said that almost all countries in the region are determined that Al Jazeera “supports terrorism, supports religious radicalisation”, echoing the rhetoric of the Arab nations that have shut down the broadcaster.
- Communications Minister Ayoob Kara said on Sunday he plans to revoke the press credentials of Al Jazeera journalists, effectively preventing them from working in Israel.
12:30am – Qatar, Turkey wrap up ‘Iron Shield’ war games
- Qatari and Turkish forces ended a joint military exercise in Doha.
- Brigadier Hadi Rashid Al Shahwani, commander of the exercise, said that the “Iron Shield” included training of leaders to assess the situation, planning, control and coordination between the two forces.
- The Qatar New Agency reported that the exercise was carried out to support counter-terrorism efforts, “extremism and smuggling operations, as well as to maintain security and stability in the region”.
12:15am – Workers in Qatar sent on ‘unpaid extended leave’
- As the blockade on Qatar enters its third month, the Migrant Rights organisation said the effects are “increasingly felt” by migrant workers in the hospitality, construction and shipping industries.
- The Migrant Rights monitor said that in addition to the standard 30 days of paid annual leave, workers have been “asked” to go on “unpaid long leave” for two to three months.
- In one case, a migrant worker at a five-star hotel told the group that six restaurants in the hotel have been closed because of the drop in the number of visitors.
- The closure of Qatar’s land border with Saudi Arabia has effectively stopped the import and export businesses of many Qatari truck companies.
- Business owners, who have complained about less work and higher rents, are hoping the problem is resolved soon.
- “We have been affected since the first minute,” Saeed Fadal Ali Al-Kaabi, director of Al Fadal Transport and Trading, told Al Jazeera.
- “We are losing money and work is very slow,” he said. “We’re hardly using any trucks.”
- US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has asked two officials, including retired general and former Middle East envoy Anthony Zinni, to work on ending the Gulf diplomatic crisis.
- “There’s only so much you can do with telephone persuasion,” Tillerson said last week, after vowing to send the duo to mediate.
- Gerald Feierstein, former US ambassador to Yemen, backed Tillerson’s choice of Zinni as a mediator.
- “He’s a man with tremendous experience and knowledge,” he said. “Hopefully, with sustained effort from the US, we will find a solution.”
- Two months after the blockade was announced, local businessmen say it has created new opportunities for the country.
- At Don Construction Products workload has doubled in the last few weeks as the company tries to step up its manufacturing of construction chemicals.
- Abdulla Hamad al-Attiyah, assistant president at Ashghal public works authority, told Al Jazeera work continues on projects related to the World Cup 2022. He said contracts with $1.7bn have been signed after the blockade was announced.
6:30am – Turkey discusses trade routes with Qatar through Iran
- Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said on Friday Ankara, Doha and Tehran hope to reach a tripartite agreement on transporting Turkish products to Qatar in a practical and cost-effective way.
- “We’re thinking about alternatives for land trade routes with Qatar,” Zeybekci told Anadolu Agency adding that the easiest way is passing through Iran.
- He pointed that using cargo planes to carry Turkish products to Doha was not sustainable.
- “Shipment by sea will gain importance. We foresee that at least four large tonnage ships would go to Qatar monthly but the land route is an alternative for carrying flexible and smaller packages,” Zeybekci added noting that the easiest option is sending these packages through Iran.
12:05am – WTO confirms Qatar filed complaints against Saudi-led group
- The World Trade Organization has confirmed that Doha has filed complaints against the Saudi-led group that is imposing a blockade on Qatar.
- “Qatar has requested WTO dispute consultations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia concerning measures adopted by the three allegedly restricting trade in goods and services from Qatar, and trade-related intellectual property rights,” the WTO said on its website on Friday.
- In its complaints against each country, Qatar accused them of adopting measures that are “coercive attempts at economic isolation.”
1:15pm – Saudi-led bloc to discuss Al Jazeera’s free speech complaint
- Officials from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt are set to discuss a complaint lodged by Al Jazeera over the closure of its offices in the four countries.
- Media ministers will meet in Jeddah on Thursday to respond to Al Jazeera’s concerns over free speech, Makram Mohammed Ahmed, the head of Egypt’s Supreme Council for Organisation of Information, told the state-run MENA news agency.
- The states boycotting Qatar have demanded the closure of Al Jazeera.
12:10pm – Trump’s tweets on Qatar ‘sent advisers scrambling to reshape policy’
- A tweet by Donald Trump accusing Qatar of “funding terrorism” was among several social media updates by the president that sent advisers scrambling, the Associated Press reported.
- Citing two policymakers involved in talks about how to defuse tensions between Qatar and other Arab nations, the news agency said aides had no choice but to rework their plans to reflect Trump’s tweet half-way through discussions.
- Policymakers hope John Kelly, Trump’s new chief of staff, can convince the president to tone down tweets at odds with administration policy
- Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian, said that a public pronouncement that undermines existing policy creates mistrust and “corrodes morale at the bureaus and agencies”.
- Qatar on Wednesday created a new permanent residents status for certain groups of foreigners, including those who have worked for the benefit of the emirate.
- In a first for the Gulf, Qatar’s cabinet ministers approved the measures, the official QNA press agency reported, in a move that will likely affect tens of thousands of resident foreigners.
- Under the new rules, children with a Qatari mother and a foreign father can benefit from the new status along with foreign residents who have “given service to Qatar” or have “skills that can benefit the country,” the agency said.
- Those deemed eligible for the new status will be afforded the same access as Qataris to free public services, such as health and education, and will also receive preferable treatment for jobs in the administration and armed services as well as being able to own their own properties and exercise some commercial activities without the need for a Qatari partner.
- Qatar has a population of 2.4 million people, 90 percent of whom are foreigners, including many from Southeast Asia working in construction.
2:30pm – Qatar seals $5.9bn navy vessels deal with Italy
- The foreign ministers of Qatar and Italy promising to strengthen bilateral relations on Wednesday, as Doha announced signing a deal worth 5bn Euros ($5.9bn) with Italy for seven navy vessels.
- Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani made the announcement at a news conference with his Italian counterpart Angelino Alfano in the Qatari capital.
- Of the current crisis, Alfano said Italy supported mediation efforts to end the dispute.
- Alfano also said he was concerned for citizens in the region who were suffering as a result of the fallout.
8am – UAE says measures against Qatar do not violate WTO agreements
- Economic sanctions imposed on Qatar by three fellow Gulf states do not violate World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements, a UAE official said, after Doha launched a wide-ranging legal complaint at the Geneva-based body this week.
- “The sanctions imposed by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain did not contradict the agreements of the WTO,” UAE state news agency WAM quoted Juma Mohammed al-Kait, an assistant undersecretary in the Economy Ministry as saying.
- In what appeared to be the first response to the Qatari move, Kait said the boycott was in line with articles 21 and article 14 of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), which allow such moves in the case of security exceptions.
5:25am – Tillerson sends senior envoys to handle Qatar crisis
- US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has asked two officials, including retired general and former Middle East envoy Anthony Zinni, to work to end the Gulf diplomatic crisis reported AFP news agency on Wednesday.
- Tillerson told reporters that Qatar is so far fulfilling its commitment to the United States, but that he had sent senior US diplomat Tim Lenderking to the region to push for progress.
- “And I’ve also asked retired General Anthony Zinni to go with Tim so that we can maintain a constant pressure on the ground because I think that’s what it’s going to take,” he said. “There’s only so much you can do with telephone persuasion.”
- Zinni, 73, was a marine general who once commanded US forces in the Middle East. After the military he served as special envoy to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
- Qatar’s Defence Minister Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah says the future of the Gulf Cooperation Council is in doubt if the partial blockade of his country continues.
- Speaking to Al Jazeera, Al Attiyah says the continuing political stalemate is not helping anyone. But he believes there is some sign of movement.
9:05pm – Turkey, Qatar launch joint military exercises
- Turkey and its main regional ally Qatar on Tuesday launched military exercises in the emirate that will involve about 250 Turkish troops and 30 armoured vehicles, reports said on Tuesday.
- Turkish state media said that the Turkish frigate TCG Gokova had docked in Doha earlier this week carrying 214 soldiers who would take part in the exercises.
- The exercises got under way on Tuesday and would intially involve ground forces with naval forces later on, NTV television said. An observation day involving top commanders would take place on August 7-8, it added.
8:30pm – Swiss rights body demands end of Hajj restrictions
- The Swiss Organisation for the Protection of Human Rights (SOPHR) has demanded the Saudi authorities to lift all of the restrictions imposed on the right to worship and to perform religious rituals.
- All violations committed during the days of the siege, including obstructing the performance of religious rites, are systematic violations that places those responsible under provisions of international law, SOPHR said in a press release on Tuesday.
- Qatar Airways is expected to have access to three contingency routes over international waters in early August, after a UN-led meeting on Monday discussed air corridors for Doha following a rift with its neighbours.
- The closed-door meeting with the UN aviation agency’s governing council in Montreal, discussed contingency routes that had been planned as part of a preliminary agreement reached earlier this month, but not yet opened to Qatar-registered planes.
- “Within a week or so they should have new routes,” said a source, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, because the talks are private.
- The New York Times reported on Monday that the UAE tried to get the Taliban to open an embassy in its capital rather than in Doha.
- “The Emirati ambassador to Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba, even received “an angry phone call” from the foreign minister at the time complaining that the Taliban had ended up in Qatar and not the UAE,” the newspaper said.
- The reports come from leaked emails between the UAE’s ambassador and US officials.
- One of the complaints against Qatar in the Gulf crisis is its alleged support for so-called “terrorist groups” – citing the 2013 opening of a Taliban embassy in the Qatari capital, Doha as an example.
- A senior Taliban official later lauded Qatar’s role in Afghan peace talks, in an exlclusive interview with Al Jazeera.
2:40am – ICAO calls on member states to comply with Chicago Convention on International Aviation
- The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on Monday called on all member-states to comply with the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation and its addendums, reported Qatar News Agency.
- The ICAO executive council held an extraordinary session in its headquarters in Montreal, to review a casefile presented by Qatar on the damages the siege countries have caused to aviation and flight safety.
- Qatari Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti said the technical file presented by Qatar to the ICAO pushed the siege countries to waiver and open up seven international emergency air corridors for Qatari flight.
- Al Sulaiti said that Qatar’s main goal at the session had been that all states should adhere to the Chicago agreement: “The organisation insisted on using the word ‘adhere’ because there was a violation of international safety and security. This is what the international community and the states represented think.”
- The minister also noted that the next step will be requesting that the airspace above the siege countries is opened up as well, in line with the rights guaranteed by the Chicago convention.
7:55pm – Qatar launches WTO complaint against trade boycott
- Qatar has filed a wide-ranging legal complaint at the World Trade Organisation to challenge a trade boycott by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE, Qatar’s WTO representative Ali Alwaleed Al Thani told Reuters news agency.
- By formally “requesting consultations” with the three countries, the first step in a trade dispute, Qatar triggered a 60-day deadline for them to settle the complaint or face litigation at the WTO and potential retaliatory trade sanctions.
- “The consultation request is to discuss and clarify the legality of these measures and find a way to bring them into conformity with their commitments,” Al Thani said.
- “We have always called for dialogue, for negotiations, and this is part of our strategy to talk to the members concerned and to gain more information on these measures, the legality of these measures, and to find a solution to resolve the dispute.”
7:40pm – NHRC sends letters to UN on Hajj obstacles
- The National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) in Qatar says it has sent a letter to the UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief on the obstacles faced by Qatar’s citizens and residents who want to do Hajj in Saudi Arabia.
- It also said in statement that it sent similar letters to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Arab League in order to explain the violations related to the right to practicing religious rituals.
- NHRC said the Saudi authorities allowed the pilgrims to reach the holy sites through two airports only and on connection flights, did not clarify mechanisms for financial transfers and declined to communicate with Qatar on the safety guarantees.
- Qatar’s foreign minister has rebutted accusations by his Saudi counterpart that Qatar is trying to politicise the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.
- “Qatar never politicised the issue of Hajj,” he told Al Jazeera on Sunday.
- “It was Saudi Arabia trying to politicise the Hajj pilgrimage amid the Gulf crisis. There has been no suggestion by any Qatari official about internationalising the issue,” he said.
- Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, appeared to accuse Qatar on Sunday of politicising the issue and “declaring a war” against the kingdom by demanding the internationalisation of the Hajj.
1:40pm – Poll shows improved sentiment towards Qatar
- Middle East fund managers have become more positive on regional equities and have a balanced view on Qatar following a drop in valuations and as the shock of the sanctions imposed on Doha eases, a monthly poll by the Reuters news agency shows.
- The poll of 13 leading fund managers, conducted over the past week, found 38 percent expected to increase their allocations to regional equities over the next three months and none to reduce them.
- The poll showed significantly improved sentiment towards Qatar. Twenty-three percent of managers now expect to raise their Qatari equity allocations and 23 percent to reduce them. Last month, the respective figures were eight percent and 38 percent.
- Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani dismissed Sunday’s statement from the four countries and said sanctions were violating international laws.
- “There isn’t a clear vision (from Manama’s meeting), there is only a stubborn policy from the blockading countries and refusal to admit that these are illegal actions,” Sheikh Mohammed told Al Jazeera.
- “It’s a continuation of a policy of intransigence.”
- Qatar has denied Saudi media reports that Arab states would allow Qatari planes to use air corridors in emergencies, saying they were spreading “false information”.
- Qatar’s transport and communications ministry and its aviation authority on Sunday denied claims that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain had taken such a decision, the state news agency QNA reported.
- Saudi state news agency SPA on Sunday cited a statement from the Saudi aviation authority (GACA) as saying they had already agreed emergency air corridors, which were identified under ICAO supervision, and that they would be open from August 1.
- “Nine corridors have been identified including one in international airspace over the Mediterranean sea that will be monitored by the Egyptian authorities,” SPA said.
10:10pm – Qatar condemns Saudi media over ‘fabricated’ Hajj news
- Qatar’s Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs (Awqaf) has condemned Saudi Arabia’s media for claiming that Qatar had suspended Hajj registrations for Qatari nationals.
- The ministry said on Sunday it was a fabricated news that meant to set obstacles for the pilgrims from Qatar to Mecca.
- It also said Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah refused to communicate to Qatar and provide safety guarantees 20,000 registered Qatari pilgrims that led to the suspension of registration.
8:10pm – Qatar central bank’s foreign reserves fell by $10.4bn in June
- The Qatar central bank’s net international reserves plunged by $10.4bn in June to $24.4bn because of the Gulf crisis, central bank data showed on Sunday.
- Reserves hit their lowest level in at least five years.
- However, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund is believed to have about $180bn or more of liquid foreign assets, which could be used to replenish the central bank reserves when authorities decide that is necessary.
6:10pm – Blockade slashed Qatar imports in June
- An air, sea and land blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia and three other Arab states slashed Qatar’s imports by more than a third in June while exports, excluding its vital shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG), were also disrupted, official data showed on Sunday.
- Imports shrank 40 percent year-on-year and 37.9 percent from the previous month to 5.87bn riyals ($1.61bn), Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics figures showed.
- In May, imports fell just 0.3 percent year on year.
- Now that alternate shipping routes and suppliers have been arranged, analysts believe Qatar can function fairly well even if the sanctions continue, and still expect it to be one of the Gulf’s best-performing economies this year.
- The foreign ministers of the four Arab countries imposing a partial blockade on Qatar have met in Manama, the Bahraini capital, to discuss the potential further measures that can be taken towards the Gulf nation.
- The foreign ministers said at a joint press conference on Sunday that they were ready for dialogue with Qatar if it showed willingness to fight terrorism.
- “The four countries are ready for dialogue with Qatar with the condition that it announces its sincere willingness to stop funding terrorism and extremism and its commitment to not interfere in other countries’ foreign affairs and respond to the 13 demands,” Bahrain’s Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa said.
8:50am – Saudi-led bloc will discuss more sanctions on Qatar: newspaper
- Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain are expected to discuss imposing new economic sanctions on Qatar when they meet in the Bahraini capital Manama on Sunday, according to the pan-Arab al-Hayat newspaper.
- Foreign ministers of the four countries “are expected to impose sanctions that will gradually affect the Qatari economy”, al-Hayat newspaper said, citing unidentified Gulf sources, without giving any further details.
9:50pm – Qatar reiterates cooperation with UN on fighting terrorism
- Qatar reiterates its cooperation with various UN bodies related to the fight against terrorism, Qatar’s Permanent Representative to the UN Sheikha Alia Ahmed bin Saif Al Thani tells the UN General Assembly.
- “The State of Qatar attaches great importance to working within regional and international mechanisms to eradicate all forms of terrorism and address their causes,” Sheikha Alia said.
- “Qatar has been keen to fully implement measures to address conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, enhance international cooperation in the field of prevention and combating of terrorism and to fully comply with the international obligations of the UN Security Council relating to the fight against terrorism and its financing.”
- She stressed Qatar’s keenness to continuously update its national laws and regulations related to the fight against terrorism and its financing to cope with any emerging terrorist challenges.
7pm – France’s Vinci says Gulf rift not hurting its Qatar business
- French construction group Vinci has said that its Qatar business had seen no disruption at this stage after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain severed relations with Qatar last month.
- Vinci operates in Qatar through its 49 percent-owned Qatari unit QDVC. It also counts the wealthy Arab state as its third-largest shareholder, with a stake of nearly 4 percent, according to Reuters data.
- “For the moment, no disruption. Our projects are not disturbed. Qatar is rather looking for friends and this facilitates discussions on some projects,” Chief Executive Xavier Huillard told an interim results news conference.
3:30pm – UAE: Gulf dispute more philosophical than diplomatic
- UAE ambassador to the US, Yousef Al Otaiba, has suggested that the Gulf dispute is more philosophical than diplomatic.
- In an interview with America’s PBS on Tuesday, he said the Saudi-led group blockading Qatar wanted to see “more secular, stable” governments in the region, an order he claimed Qatar “fundamentally opposed”.
- “What we’ve seen Qatar do for the last 10 to 15 years, [is] support groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Taliban, Islamist militias in Syria, Islamist militias in Libya, exactly the opposite direction we think our region needs to go,” he said. “So our disagreement is about what the future of the Middle East should look like.”
- Qatar has filed a complaint with the UN protesting new restrictions imposed by Saudi Arabia against Qatari nationals planning to travel to Mecca for the annual Muslim pilgrimage.
- Qatar’s National Human Rights Commission said on Saturday that its citizens have been told they can only enter Saudi Arabia through two airports, and that they must travel via Doha to be allowed in.
- This would be challenging for Qataris who do not live in Doha, such as those studying abroad.
10:10am – ‘Differing views over future of Arab people at heart of Gulf crisis’
- The differences between how Qatar and the Saudi-led bloc view the future of the Arab people is at the heart of the Gulf crisis, a senior Qatari official said on Friday.
- Fahad bin Mohammed Al Attiyah, Qatar’s ambassador to Russia, told a radio station in Moscow that his country supported the Arab people’s aspirations in the wake of uprisings that began in Tunisia in 2010, Qatar News Agency reported.
- Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, however, chose to go against that current, he said, adding that the four states wanted Qatar to punish those who oppose their governments and brand them terrorists.
- “This in itself is terrorism,” he said. “The siege countries are trying to reproduce the regimes that produced terrorism, and they want to convince us that these regimes will fight terrorism.”
2am – Arab states to meet in Bahrain on Sunday
- Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will meet in Manama on Sunday to discuss the latest developments on their blockade of Qatar.
- In the two-day meeting, the four countries will press Qatar to comply with their demands, which include stopping alleged interference in their internal affairs.
11:15am – Qatar refuses to ‘outsource foreign policy’
- Qatar said it refuses to bow to Saudi-led demands to “outsource” its foreign policy to resolve the Gulf crisis.
- Government spokesman Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al-Thani told AFP in an interview that Qatar’s sovereignty and independence is behind the dispute.
- “It (the crisis) is about… outsourcing our foreign policy so that decisions are not made in Qatar, and that is something that will never be acceptable,” he said.
- Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani called on the UN to help resolve the Gulf crisis, adding that the Saudi-led group blockading Qatar has violated international law.
- Speaking after a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the foreign minister said that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain are showing “stubbornness” and have not taken any steps to solve the crisis.
- He vowed that Qatar will spare no effort to overcome what he called “violations” and said “the United Nations is the right platform to start from”.
11:35am – UAE asks banks to freeze accounts of those named on Qatar-linked blacklist
- The United Arab Emirates’ central bank has asked all banks to stop dealing with the 18 individuals and entities added to a Qatar-linked blacklist, the state news agency WAM reported on Wednesday.
- The move makes it the first financial watchdog in the Gulf to act on the new blacklist, with regulators in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt likely to follow.
- In a circular, the UAE watchdog asked banks and financial institutions to “start immediate search for and freezing of all bank accounts, investments, and deposits that may be held by any individual or entity” included on the July 25 list.
2:45am – Qatar’s FM says blockading states are ignoring US calls to end Gulf crisis
- Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani is in Washington DC for talks with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
- “It was noticed that the blockade states did not react to the suggestions made by the US Secretary of State,” said Mohammed bin Abdulrahman after a meeting on Wednesday.
- The Qatari foreign minister added that Qatar had dealt with US advice in a “positive and constructive way”.
- “In addition, we discussed our bilateral relations and the memorandum of understanding on fighting terrorism that we signed and the measures we took regarding it,” said Mohammed bin Abdulrahman.
- Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani, Qatar’s communications director, said the decision by four Arab states to add 18 groups and individuals allegedly linked to Doha to their “terrorist” list has no basis in fact.
- “It comes as a disappointing surprise that the blockading countries are still pursuing this story as part of their smear campaign against Qatar,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
- “This latest list provides further evidence that the blockading countries are not committed to the fight against terrorism,” he said, adding: “All individuals with links to terrorism in Qatar have been prosecuted.”
9:55am – Qatar reiterates support for ‘peaceful means’ to settle disputes
- Qatar said it remains committed to settling international disputes through peaceful means despite a unilateral blockade imposed against the Gulf nation by its Arab neighbours.
- Speaking at the UN Security Council on Wednesday, Sheikha Alia Ahmed bin Saif Al Thani, Qatar’s envoy to the UN, said her government supports global efforts at ensuring peace and security, as well as international and bilateral efforts to combat terrorism.
- She also praised Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s mediatory efforts at resolving the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf.
4:05am – Qatari FM’s US visit aims to inform politicians about impacts of the crisis
- Qatar’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said on Wednesday that his current visit to Washington is part of the follow-up efforts exerted by the State of Kuwait in partnership with the United States to reach a diplomatic solution to the Qatar-Gulf crisis.
- In an interview with Al Jazeera, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman said that “this visit is also aimed at informing politicians, senators and MPs in the United States about the negative impacts of this crisis on the region”.
- The Foreign Minister said that “the US position demanded, since the outbreak of the crisis, the rapid lifting of the unjust siege against Qatar … but the contradictory statements of the siege countries prevented this to happen.”
3:25am – Qatari compensation committee receives nearly 3,000 claims
- The Qatari Compensation Claims Committee has received 2,945 individual cases from the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), reported the Qatar News Agency on Wednesday.
- Ahmed bin Hassan Al-Hammadi – Secretary-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and member of the claims committee – told Al Jazeera that the committee receives about 100-160 complaints and 60 calls a day.
- The Compensation Claims Committee was formed on July 9 to consider citizen compensation or bring cases to the competent domestic and international courts related to the blockade.
- The compensation committee was divided into three sections, said Al-Hammadi: the first is to examine citizens’ complaints about violations of human rights or individual damage; and the second for traders who were affected by the closure of land, sea and air borders; and third of government institutions affected by the blockade such as the Ministry of Economy and Qatari Aviation.
10:45pm – Lebanon’s PM: Dialogue is the best way to resolve the Gulf crisis
- Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri has said that dialogue was the best way to improve ties between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
- “I think there is an effort by the Kuwaitis [to resolve the crisis]… I think that they made some progress. We believe that the dialogue is the best way in improving the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Qatar,” he told reporters on Tuesday at a joint press conference with US President Donald Trump at the White House.
- “I believe that maybe the United States could also help in solving this issue in the Gulf,” he added.
10pm – Qatar’s FM: The quartet undermines mediation efforts
- Qatar’s foreign minister has criticised Saudi Arabia and three other blockading countries for actions which he said were undermining mediation efforts backed by the US.
- “We see there is a negative behaviour aimed at influencing the mediation, either through statements or through (media) leaks which they launch at critical moments,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani told Al Jazeera late on Tuesday.
- He reiterated the Qatari position that Doha was ready for dialogue on a range of issues of concern but that it would not negotiate over topics to do with internal affairs and that the boycott against it must be lifted.
5:40pm – Egypt: No compromise in dispute with Qatar
- Egypt has said that the four Arab states would accept no compromise in their dispute with Qatar over allegations that Doha supports “terrorism”.
- Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, speaking after talks with warned the European Union diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini in Brussels on Tuesday, said Qatar must accept in full the demands by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
- “It is not an issue of compromise, we cannot compromise with any form of terrorism, we cannot compromise or enter into any form of negotiations,” Shoukry told a press conference.
- “It is only once the necessary measures are undertaken by Qatar, that goes towards truly accepting to be a partner in the fight against terrorism, that this crisis will be resolved,” he said.
4:25pm – Erdogan: Gulf tour was ‘productive and successful’
- Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday described his two-day trip to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar to deal with the Gulf crisis as “productive and successful”.
- He told lawmakers from his ruling AK Party at a parliamentary meeting: “The contacts we have made during this visit have been useful, and we will continue our efforts for the stability and peace of the region with increasing determination.”
2:15pm – Rights groups ‘condemn’ demand to close down Al Jazeera
- A number of international, regional and national rights organisations “unequivocally” condemned the Saudi-led group’s demand to close Al Jazeera and other media outlets that Qatar allegedly funds.
- The group made the statement on Tuesday at a conference organised by Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee in Doha.
- The organisations also expressed their “total solidarity with journalists and other media and ancillary works at Al Jazeera and other targeted media”.
- Qatar’s Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah says the blockade imposed on his country by four Arab states must be lifted before engaging in any dialogue with its neighbours.
- “Lifting the siege should precede any dialogue,” al-Attiyah said in an interview with Russia Today, excerpts of which was published by Qatar’s official news agency on Tuesday.
- “If the blockade countries remain reluctant to lift the siege, Qatar will be compelled to resort to the available international legal procedures to lift it,” he said.
- Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have added 18 individuals and groups to its so-called “terror list”, according to state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
- The new entrants include entities from Libya and Yemen and individuals from Qatar, Yemen and Kuwait who the Arab states say have direct and indirect links to Qatari authorities, a joint statement by the Saudi-led group said, according to SPA.
- A Saudi lobby in the US has launched a television advertisement campaign against Qatar, contracts reviewed by Al Jazeera show, with $138,000 spent on seven, 30-second TV spots.
- The TV spots have been purchased by the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC).
3:15am – Qatar’s defence minister praises Russia
- Qatar’s Minister of State for Defence Affairs Dr Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah on Monday praised Russia’s clear position that supports lifting the unjust siege imposed on the Gulf nation.
- Al Attiyah said in an interview with Russian news channel RT that the speech of the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani was clear and comprehensive, laying a road map and telling the truth that many of the peoples knew but that some parties refuse to understand.
- He noted that the Emir intended to deliver a speech to the Qatari people and residents since the beginning of the crisis but opted to delay the speech to a suitable time in response to the request of Emir of the State of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah, who has led the mediation efforts to end the crisis.
10:15pm – UN praises Qatar’s call for dialogue
- UN’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed on Monday the call for dialogue Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to resolve the Gulf crisis.
- Guterres encouraged all parties to enter a negotiation to lift the blockade imposed on Qatar and seek an acceptable solution for all parties regarding the crisis.
- He also praised the mediation efforts of Kuwait, expressing his hope that these efforts will continue.
8:20pm – Erdogan departs from Doha after talks
- Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan left Doha late on Monday after meeting with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
8:15pm – Lavrov: Russia ready to help mediate in Gulf crisis
- Russia is ready to help mediate in the dispute between Qatar and four other Arab states if approached, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview released on Monday.
- “We are interested in this crisis being overcome, taking into account mutual concerns and finding solutions which will be acceptable for all participants of this process,” Lavrov told Kurdish television channel Rudaw, according to a transcript of the interview published on the foreign ministry’s website.
- “We support the mediating efforts which are being made by the Emir of Kuwait… If as part of those efforts or in addition to them all sides think that Russia could also do something useful, we will be ready to respond to such appeals,” Lavrov said, according to the transcript.
- Qatar and Turkey have discussed the Gulf crisis and efforts being exerted to defuse the dispute between Doha and a group of Saudi-led Arab states through dialogue and diplomatic means.
- This came during a meeting between Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Doha on Monday.
- The two sides praised Kuwait mediation to end the row. Erdogan is on a Gulf tour that took him to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
- The two leaders also discussed Qatar-Turkey joint efforts in the fight against “terrorism and extremism”, according to Qatar’s state news agency.
2:25pm – Saudi Arabia allows access to pilgrims from Qatar
- Saudi Arabia has allowed access to pilgrims from neighbouring Qatar aboard all flights other than Qatar Airways, Qatar’s national carrier.
- “Pilgrims from Qatar who have Hajj permits … can come directly from Doha or through any other transit place,” the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said in a statement cited by the official SPA news agency on Sunday.
10:55pm – Qatar-based websites were briefly unblocked in Saudi Arabia
- A Saudi official announced on his Twitter account early on Monday that Qatar-based websites were unblocked in the country because of a technical issue and they will be blocked again in a few hours, according to Turkey’s Anadolu agency.
- Saud al-Qahtani, a Saudi royal court adviser, was apparently referring to Al Jazeera and beIN Sports that have been blocked in the country since the beginning of the Gulf crisis.
- There was no official statement on the issue.
11:30pm – Erdogan meets with Kuwait’s Emir
- Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has held a meeting with Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah at Dar Salwa Palace which lasted an hour.
8pm – Erdogan heads to Kuwait
- Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has left Saudi Arabia for Kuwait, the mediator in the Gulf crisis.
- He will meet with Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah later on Sunday.
- Erdogan is accompanied by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak, Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli, Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar, and National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) head Hakan Fidan.
7:20pm – Mogherini urges talks to resolve Gulf crisis
- Federica Mogherini, the European Union foreign affairs chief, on Sunday called for swift direct talks to resolve the Gulf crisis.
- Her remark came in a statement after she met Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah and expressed EU support for Kuwait’s “relentless mediation efforts” in the dispute.
- Mogherini called on “all the parties to enter into negotiations to agree clear principles and a roadmap for a swift resolution of the crisis”.
- She said the EU was ready to support the process of negotiations and assist in the implementation of a plan for the resolution of the crisis, in particular in the area of counterterrorism.
- A European human rights organisation has called on Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain to end their blockade against Qatar and help alleviate the suffering of citizens on disputing sides.
- A 16-member delegation from the Brussels-based Alliance for Freedom and Dignity, AFD, travelled to Doha to investigate and document the humanitarian impact on ordinary citizens resulting from the blockade imposed on Qatar on June 5.
- Britain’s government has praised Qatari Emir’s willingness for dialogue to resolve the ongoing diplomatic dispute with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.
- “I welcome the Emir of Qatar’s commitment to combat terrorism in all its manifestations, including terrorist financing,” Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in a statemen on Sunday.
- “The Emir also pledged to resolve the remaining differences with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain through dialogue, negotiation, and Kuwaiti mediation. These steps will help to resolve the dispute,” Johnson added.
5:55pm – Erdogan meets Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince
- Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman separately on Sunday in the Saudi city of Jeddah on the first leg of his Gulf tour, which will also include Kuwait and Qatar.
4:30pm – US army commander meets Qatar’s Emir in Doha
- Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani met with General Joseph Leonard Votel, commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM), on Sunday in Doha.
- According to Qatar’s state news agency, they discussed the ways of increasing their defence cooperation and reviewed joint operations between Qatar and the US in combating terrorism.
- General Votel thanked Sheikh Tamim’s pivotal role in this field.
1:35pm – EU foreign policy chief visits Kuwait
- Federica Mogherini has arrived in Kuwait as part of efforts to resolve the Gulf crisis.
- She met Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah and other officials on Sunday.
10:35am – Erdogan: Prolonging Gulf crisis ‘not in anyone’s interest’
- Prolonging the crisis in the Gulf is not in the interest of anyone, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said as he embarked on a visit to the region.
- “No-one has any interest in prolonging this crisis any more,” the president said before leaving Istanbul airport. He accused “enemies” of seeking to “fire up tensions between brothers”.
9:30pm – UAE: No dialogue with Qatar until it revises policies
- Anwar Gargash, the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates, said a call for dialogue by Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was welcome, but it could only happen after Doha had made changes in its policies. He did not specify the required changes.
- “Dialogue is necessary and needed but its backbone has to be revision,” Gargash said on his Twitter account.
- He expressed disappointment with by Sheikh Tamim’s Friday speech: “I had hoped that the speech of Sheikh Tamim would be an initiative for revision.”
5:30pm – Qatar’s BeIN sports network back on air in UAE
- Qatar’s BeIN sports satelite network was broadcasting again on Saturday in the United Arab Emirates, according to subscribers to its channels which have been blocked since the start of a Gulf crisis.
- “We are again receiving the network of BeIN sports channels, distributed by Du,” one of two telecommunications companies in the Emirates, one customer told AFP news agency.
- Etisalat, a UAE-based telecommunications giant, had also reinstated BeIN sports, according to several subscribers to its channels. Customers were informed of the move in an email from Etisalat.
- “We would like to advise that starting 22 July 2017 the BeIN package will be available to customers and normal charges will apply,” the message said. “The provision of the BeIN package will be subject to an ongoing review.”
03:10am – Key points of Qatari Emir’s speech
- The spirit of solidarity, harmony and defiance that had prevailed in the people of Qatar frustrated the hopes of those who banked on the opposite.
- Qatar is fighting terrorism, relentlessly and without compromises and the international community recognises this.
- Differences are resolved through dialogue and negotiation and we should not burden civilians with political differences.
- We are opening our economy to initiatives, investments, production of food, medicine and ultimately to diversify our source of income.
- We are open to dialogue to find solutions to lingering problems, within the framework of respect for the sovereignty and will of each state as mutual undertakings and joint commitments binding all.
- Recep Tayyip Erdogan will embark on a two-day Gulf tour starting on Sunday as part of his efforts to resolve the crisis in the region.
- His first stop will be in the Saudi port city of Jeddah, during which he will meet Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud.
- Erdogan will then depart for Kuwait to meet Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, who has led mediation efforts to resolve the crisis. His next stop will be Doha, where he will meet the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
- Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has denounced the “malicious smearing campaign” directed against the country in his first address following the blockade.
- Sheikh Tamim said Qatar and its people “rose spontaneously defending the sovereignty and independence of the country.”
- US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has renewed his call on Arab states to lift the blockade on Qatar, saying the US is satisfied with Doha’s efforts to implement an agreement aimed at combating terror financing.
- “They have been very aggressive in implementing that agreement, so I think we’re satisfied with the effort they’re putting forth,” Tillerson told reporters just before meeting with Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah at the State Department on Friday.
04:50pm – UAE welcomes Qatar’s move to amend anti-terror laws
- The United Arab Emirates on Friday welcomed Qatar’s decision to amend its anti-terrorism laws, in one of the first positive signs since sanctions were imposed on Doha in June.
- “The Qatari decree to amend the anti-terrorism law is a positive step to deal seriously with the 59 terrorists,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Twitter.
- Gargash also said the countries’ concerns about Qatar’s relationship with Iran had eased since Kuwait ordered the expulsion of Iranian diplomats for alleged links to a “spy and terror” cell on Thursday.
04:33pm – Erdogan says Turkey will try to solve GCC crisis
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would do his best to solve problems between the “brothers of the Gulf region” as he prepared to visit Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar on July 23-24.
- Erdogan has been a staunch ally of Qatar in its dispute with its neighbours. He has criticised a list of demands by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt to end sanctions they imposed on Doha.
- In a speech in Istanbul, Erdogan said the political problems were temporary and he called on Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Gulf states to invest in Turkey.
10:45am – China urges Gulf crisis talks after Qatar FM visit
- China’s foreign minister has called on Doha and the four Arab countries blockading Qatar to resolve their differences through talks within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), according to Chinese state media.
- Wang Yi made the remarks after meeting his Qatari counterpart in Beijing on Thursday, a day after he held talks with a top UAE official.
- “All sides should continue restraint and conduct face-to-face talks as soon as possible, so as to avoid escalation of the situation, send out a positive signal in addressing the crisis through political and diplomatic means, and reassure the role of the GCC,” Wang said.
- Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has issued a decree amending some provisions of a law on “combating terrorism”, the state news agency reported.
- The decree issued on Thursday included definitions for the terms “terrorist”, “crime”, “terrorist acts”, “terrorist entities”, “the freezing of funds” and the “financing of terrorism”, according to the Qatar News Agency.
- Meanwhile at the United Nations, Qatar’s UN ambassador, Alya Ahmed Saif Al Thani, rejected the “baseless accusations” made by Egyptian Deputy UN Ambassador Ihab Awad Moustafa against Doha.
- Earlier on Thursday, Moustafa told the UN Security Council that Qatar is adopting a “pro-terrorist” policy that violated UN council resolutions, and said it is “shameful” that the 15-member body had not held Qatar accountable.
- Qatar’s Ministry of Interior say experts now have evidence showing that the cyberattack on the country’s official media originated from the United Arab Emirates.
- During a news conference in Doha on Thursday, officials said the planning for the hacking of Qatar News Agency (QNA) started as early as April.
- Investigators also reportedly traced the IP (internet protocol) address linked to the hacking to the UAE. Officials said the case has been referred to prosecutors.
- The UAE denies the allegations.
6:10pm – Qatar presents more evidence of hacking
- Qatar has presented on Thursday new evidence and technical details “confirming direct contact” from one of the blockading countries, leading to the hacking of the country’s official media.
- Qatar’s Ministry of Interior said the hackers obtained addresses, passwords and emails of state media staff, using them to carry out the attack against Qatar News Agency and its related media accounts.
1:00pm – Qatar FM to meet Chinese counterpart
- Qatar’s foreign minister is visiting Beijing a day after his Chinese counterpart told a top UAE official that China hoped the rift between the Gulf countries could be repaired.
- Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani is expected to meet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday, according to China’s foreign ministry.
9:50am – Qatar to release report on the hacking of Qatar News Agency
- Qatar’s Ministry of Interior is set to release a report on Thursday on the hacking of its official Qatar News Agency and government social media accounts.
4:25am – Turkish Deputy PM urges Saudi Arabia to drop demands against Qatar
- Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus called on Saudi Arabia to drop 13 demands it and other Arab states had made of Qatar, saying they represent an infringement on its sovereignty.
- Speaking in an interview with the Qatar-based Al Jazeera broadcast on Wednesday, Kurtulmus also said: “The UAE must show a stand that is in favour of peace and a settlement and this is in its interest too, otherwise every conflict breeds conflict and no one knows the outcome.”
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar on July 23-24 as part of efforts to resolve the crisis.
- Kurtulmus also said Turkey had no plans to shut its military base in Qatar, where a fresh contingent of troops arrived on Wednesday, saying it was not aimed against any of Qatar’s neighbours.
- He also said that Turkey and Qatar were planning to conduct military exercises in coming days and that US forces may join in the exercises.
- The US State Department praised Qatar’s “strong partnership” in the fight against “terrorism” in its annual “Country Reports on Terrorism” released on Wednesday.
- The State Department said Doha had “maintained a strong partnership in the fight against terrorism in 2016 and collaborated to foster closer regional and international cooperation on counterterrorism, law enforcement and rule of law activities”.
- Qatar, it added, has made “significant progress” in combatting terrorist financing but “terrorist financiers within the country are still able to exploit Qatar’s informal financial system”.
- The Saudi-led group blockading Qatar accuse it of funding “terrorism”, an accusation Doha rejects as “baseless”.
- The State Department also said that individuals and “entities” in Saudi Arabia had been channelling money out of the country to “terrorist” organisations but that: “Saudi Arabia continued to maintain a strong counterterrorism relationship with the United States”.
- The report also mentioned that individuals have made use of the UAE as a financial hub to funnel money out of the country to “terrorist” groups, but that the UAE had increased its counterterrorism prosecutions.
11:15pm – Gulf’s reputation as haven of business stability ‘in jeopardy’, reports FT
- Most Gulf nationals cannot now travel to or from Qatar; breaking up families and business ties, and dealing a blow to cross-border investments, reported the Financial Times on Wednesday.
- Businesses say the embargo is causing uncertainty and confusion, and pushing up costs.
- Contractors are shifting supply chains from the UAE to Oman, which has remained neutral in the dispute – although many can still move materials from the UAE to Qatar, albeit with extra precautions.
- “The crisis has encouraged companies to think about restructuring to keep UAE and Qatar operations separate,” says one diplomat.
- Qatari businesses are having to seek alternative sources for some building materials such as aggregate.
- Mohammed Saleh’s business distributes building materials across the region – the crisis left Qatar-bound cargo stranded in Dubai. He had to take out a loan to pay his supplier, and lost £30,000: “One minute we are doing business with Qatar, the next we are told we are doing business with terrorist financiers,” he said. “It’s all so confusing.”
- A government official in Qatar has called the Saudi-led group’s conduct “dangerous” and “disorganised” after the four Arab nations modified their demands.
- Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain called on Qatar on Wednesday to commit to six principles on combatting terrorism, instead of the 13 demands they had initially made.
- Sheikh Saif Al Thani, director of Qatar’s government communications office, told the Associated Press news agency that the new demands are “another example of the dangerous and disorganised manner in which the illegal blockade has been conducted”.
- The four countries have regularly issued “conflicting statements and arguments,” he said.
7:55pm – Qatar Hajj pilgrims facing ‘obstacles’
- The head of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) said the Saudi government was putting obstacles against Qatari citizens who wished to perform the annual Hajj or Pilgrimage.
- Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri said Saudi Arabia is “inciting” its citizens against Qataris. He also said that Gulf states are rebuffing Qatar’s bid to easehumanitarian impact of the blockade.
5:05pm – Qatar business lobby to assess blockade losses
- The Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry has asked local companies to report any loss of earnings caused by the Saudi-led blockade of Doha.
- The business lobby said it would use the information “to take appropriate legal measures” to limit damage, and to help companies claim compensation for any losses.
6:45am – Saudi-led group urges Qatar to accept six ‘principles’
- Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE are urging Qatar to commit to six ‘principles’ on combating “extremism” and “terrorism”, and to negotiate a plan with specific measures to implement them.
- Abdallah al-Mouallimi, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UN, told reporters on Tuesday that the four countries are now committed to the six principles agreed on by their foreign ministers at a July 5 meeting in Cairo.
- Six ‘principles’:
- Commitment to combat extremism and terrorism in all their forms and to prevent their financing or providing havens.
- Suspending all acts of provocation and speeches inciting hatred or violence.
- Full compliance with the Riyadh Agreement of 2013 and the supplementary agreement and its implementation mechanisms of 2014 within the framework of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
- Adherence to all the outcomes of the Arab Islamic American Summit held in May 2017 in Riyadh.
- Refraining from interfering in the internal affairs of states and from supporting illegal entities.
- The responsibility of all states of the international community to confront all forms of extremism and terrorism as a threat to international peace and security.
- Mouallimi also said that the four Arab states believe that stopping incitement to violence is essential, but he said closing Al Jazeera might not be necessary.
- “If the only way to achieve that is by closing down Al Jazeera, fine,” he said. “If we can achieve that without closing down Al Jazeera, that’s also fine. The important thing is the objective and the principle involved.”
6:30am – Qatar FM meets with Pakistan PM over Gulf crisis
- Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed his support for the “efforts in finding a solution to the current crisis in the Gulf”, his office said on Monday.
- Sharif met with Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Islamabad on Monday to discuss the rift between Doha and four other Arab states.
4:30am – Another US media outlet reports that the UAE played a role in Qatar hacking
- Another US media organisation is reporting the United Arab Emirates played a role in the hacking of Qatar’s state news agency. The hack led to fake news being posted about the Qatari Emir.
- NBC News has cited multiple US intelligence sources confirming a Washington Post article alleging the UAE was behind the attack.
- The UAE denies involvement.
- Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, Qatar’s economy minister, met on Tuesday with the heads of international trade organisations in Geneva to discuss the compensation.
- Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah, Qatar’s defence minister, also said the country may even go to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court, in The Hague.
- Qatar has contracted a specialised legal team to study the actions taken by the blockading countries against it, according to a statement from the economy ministry.
06:15pm – Iran FM Zarif says Gulf divisions slowing ISIL fight
- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said divisions in the Gulf region are slowing down the fight against groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).
- Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Zarif also expressed hope that Iran and Saudi Arabia could one day set aside their difference and work together to end the war in Yemen.
- “Iran is a serious partner for all these countries in fighting our common enemy, because we believe at the end of the day, these extremist forces are as much as threat against us, but even more a threat against them,” Zarif said.
04:35pm – FIFA: No effort to take away 2022 World Cup
- The international football federation has denied reports that there is an effort to strip Qatar of the 2022 World Cup.
- In a statement to Al Jazeera, FIFA said: “The FIFA President has never received such a letter and subsequently has not made any comment on that.”
- Reuters earlier reported that a group of Arab nations have asked FIFA to take action against Qatar. The website designed to look like a Swiss news publication turned out to be fake and Reuters withdrew the story.
9:50am – Turkey’s Erdogan to visit Gulf next week
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to visit Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar on July 24-25, the president’s office said.
- Giles Trendle, the acting general manager of Al Jazeera’s English-language service, said the channel is not going anywhere despite demands by Saudi Arabia and other Arab states to close it down.
- “Obviously it’s an unusual situation but it’s business as normal … we’re just getting on with our jobs,” Trendle said at London’s iconic Frontline Club on Monday.
8:05am – Qatar: No right to ask for closing Turkish base
- Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah, Qatar’s defence minister, said no country has the right to call for the closure of the Turkish base in Doha.
- In an interview with TRT, al-Attiyah said everyone knew about the Turkish base in Qatar a long time ago.
- “Unfortunately, we did not choose the time to attack, besiege and boycott Qatar,” he said.
- The Saudi-led group “did choose the time so they cannot come and ask us to close a base where everybody knows about it from a long time back and this is considered a relation between two sovereign state countries”.
5am – Iran FM: Gulf dispute hampering fight against ‘terrorism’
- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said divisions in the Gulf region are hampering the fight against what he called “terrorism”.
- While speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, he also expressed hope that Iran and Saudi Arabia could one day work together to end the war in Yemen.
- Egypt’s foreign ministry has announced the end of visa-free entry for Qataris – the latest measure taken against Doha in the Gulf crisis.
- Qatari nationals will now have to apply for a visa in order to enter Egypt, the ministry said on Monday.
- “It does not make sense to keep making exceptions for Qatar and giving it privileges in light of its current positions,” said Ahmed Abu Zeid, Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman.
- The restriction will not affect spouses and children of Egyptian nationals, as well as Qatari nationals who are studying at Egyptian public universities, Abu Zeid said.
9:20pm – Libya’s UN-backed leader: Solving Gulf crisis will benefit Libya
- Fayez Sarraj, the head of Libya’s UN-backed government, told Russia’s Sputnik that resolution of the Gulf crisis would “positively impact the situation in Libya” as the disputing countries have ties with rival forces in his country.
- He said he hoped that “this situation between the Arab brothers will be resolved, the crisis will end, and inter-Arab reconciliation will replace it again”.
- Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has told his Kuwait counterpart that Egypt is standing by the list of demands it and three other Arab states made of Qatar and will keep sanctions against Doha in place until the demands are met.
- Ahmed Abu Zeid, Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman, said in a statement that the stance comes “in light of what the quartet states see as Qatar’s stalling and procrastination, and lack of concern for the concerns of the four states”.
- Kuwait’s FM Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah met Shoukry and President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo on Monday.
- Sisi told Sabah he appreciated what Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah was doing to preserve Arab unity but that Egypt would not let anyone interfere in its affairs and would stand strong against policies that support terrorism, his spokesman Alaa Youssef said in a statement.
8:30pm – Report: Egypt tightens visa rules for Qatar’s citizens
- Qatar’s citizens will no longer be able to receive visas upon arrival to Egypt, according to an official source at Cairo International Airport quoted by Egypt’s state-run Ahram Online publication.
- The restriction coming into force on Wednesday will not affect spouses and children of Egyptian nationals, as well as Qatari nationals who are studying at Egyptian public universtities, the report said on Monday.
- Those affected by the move, including holders of diplomatic or special passports, will have to apply for visas in advance from an Egyptian embassy abroad, said the source on condition of anonymity.
- Egypt’s foreign ministry has not issued a statement regarding the changes.
- Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al-Thani, the director of Qatar’s government communications office, said in a statement on Monday the “crime” of hacking its state news agency (QNA) by the United Arab Emirates was a violation of international law.
- “The State of Qatar has long maintained that its government news agency website was hacked on 24 May and fabricated quotes published. The information published in the Washington Post on 16 July 2017, which revealed the involvement of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and senior Emirati officials in the hacking of Qatar News Agency, unequivocally proves that this hacking crime took place.”
- “It is especially unfortunate that this shameful act of cyber terrorism is being attributed to a fellow member of the Gulf Cooperation Council”.
- “This criminal act represents a clear violation and breach of international law and of the bilateral and collective agreements signed between the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as collective agreements with the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and the United Nations.”
- “The Public Prosecutor will take all necessary legal measures to bring to justice the perpetrators and instigators of this crime, whether in Qatari courts or relevant international jurisdictions specialising in cybercrimes.”
11:45am – UAE minister denies any hacking of Qatar
- Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s state minister for foreign affairs, said his country was not responsible for any alleged hacking of Qatari websites.
- Gargash also said the UAE would not escalate its blockade on Qatar by asking companies to choose between doing business with it or Qatar.
4:20am – UAE wants international monitoring of Qatar
- “We need a regional solution and international monitoring,” said Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, in prepared remarks he was scheduled to deliver on Monday in London.
- “We need to be certain that Qatar, a state with $300bn in reserves, is no longer an official or unofficial sponsor of jihadist and terrorist causes,” he said, giving no further detail on the proposed monitoring. Qatar strongly denies all allegations of supporting “terrorism”.
- Gargash said the memorandum of understanding signed by the US and Qatar on Tuesday on the financing of terrorism was a positive development but fell short of allaying their concerns
- “We do see signs now, however, that our pressure is working,” Gargash said. “We are ready for this process to take a long time.”
- The United Arab Emirates arranged for Qatari government social media and news sites to be hacked in late May in order to post false quotes linked to Qatar’s emir, prompting the Qatar-Gulf diplomatic crisis, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.
- The Post reported that US intelligence officials learned last week of newly analysed information that showed that senior UAE government officials discussed the planned hacks on May 23, the day before they occurred.
- The officials said it was unclear if the UAE hacked the websites or paid for them to be carried out, the newspaper reported. The Post did not identify the intelligence officials it spoke to for the report.
- UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba denied the report in a statement, saying it was “false”.