Qatar row Day 2 developments: The crisis deepens

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Qatar row Day 2 developments: The crisis deepens

Seven countries on Monday decided to sever ties with the State of Qatar.

By Team KT

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Published: Wed 7 Jun 2017, 6:21 PM

Thirty-six hours after the announcement first came that the UAE was severing all relations with the State of Qatar, including breaking off diplomatic relations, the crisis has deepened for Qatar and its citizens.

With seven states -- the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and the Maldives -- snapping their ties with the maverick country, Qatar today finds itself isolated.

A long-time ally of the US, Qatar has been viewed with lingering suspicion by Washington and its Gulf neighbours over its close relations with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The following are the key developments on Day 2 of the Qatar crisis:

UAE demands guarantees before mending ties

The UAE said on Tuesday that Qatar would need to provide a "guaranteed roadmap" before it would consider mending ties. "We need a guaranteed roadmap to rebuild confidence after our covenants were broken," UAE state minister for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said on Twitter.

Gargash accused Doha of turning to "money and media and partisanship and extremism" in a series of tweets early Tuesday.

Wise old man of GCC to visit Saudi

Kuwait Ruler will travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for talks with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, over a Gulf Arab dispute with Qatar, Gulf Arab officials said.

Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah, is acting as a mediator between Doha and some other Gulf Arab states including Saudi Arabia, which have severed diplomatic and transport ties with Doha.

Trump jumps in

US President Donald Trump says that Middle Eastern leaders complained about the Gulf state of Qatar when he demanded an end to support for radical ideology that encourages terrorism.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Trump did not take a position on the decision by Saudi Arabia and three other Arab nations to sever diplomatic relations with Qatar but appeared to suggest it was understandable.

"During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar - look!," Trump tweeted.

Food trucks stuck at border

With a population of 2.5 million, Qatar is largely dependent on imports of foodstuff to meet its needs. After the latest diplomatic standoff, Qatar's citizens have reportedly begun to stockpile supplies, fearing that the country will run out of food supplies if the situation continues.

A Reuters report citing to unnamed trade sources says that thousands of trucks carrying food supplies are stuck at the border with Saudi Arabia, and are unable to cross over into Qatar. The UAE and Saudi Arabia have reportedly stopped exports of white sugar to Qatar.

However, Qatar's cabinet said earlier on Monday it was still open for trade. "The Council would like to reassure Qatar's citizens and residents that the government had already taken the necessary measures and precautions to ensure that normal life continues, and that there will be no negative impact caused by the latest measures," the Qatari government said in a statement.

Gulf flight ban to Qatar begins

Travellers flying to Qatar from UAE, Saudi Arabia and other countries were stranded as the travel ban put in force by Gulf carriers came into effect from Tuesday.

Following Monday's decision to sever ties, airlines of the seven states had announced suspension of flights to the Gulf state.

UAE-based Etihad, Emirates, flydubai and Air Arabia, along with Saudi's Saudia and Bahrain's Gulf Air, on Monday said all flights to and from the Qatari capital of Doha will end on Tuesday, June 6.

Saudi grounds Qatar Airways

Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has revoked the license of Qatar Airways and ordered its offices to be closed within 48 hours, the regulatory body said in a statement.

Any licenses granted to Qatar Airways employees would also be withdrawn, the statement said. The move comes a day after GACA banned all Qatari planes from landing in the Kingdom's airports, following the worst rift in years among the Gulf countries.

Saj Ahmad, an analyst with the London-based StrategicAero Research, noted that the flight restrictions will have a negative effect on all airlines involved.

"Qatar Airways will of course be severely impacted on key regional routes, especially to cities like Dubai," he said.

Qatari riyal plunges

The Qatari riyal fell against the US dollar to its lowest level since June 2016 on Tuesday because of concern about the long-term economic impact on Qatar after Saudi Arabia and the UAE severed ties with it.

Jammed signals

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Culture and Information has closed Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera's office in Saudi Arabia and withdrawn its licence.

The move comes after the channel promoted the plots of terrorist groups, supported Houthi coup militias in Yemen, and tried to break the Saudi internal ranks by inciting them against the state and harming the sovereignty of the country.

OIC asks Qatar to honour commitments

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has called upon the State of Qatar to honour its previous commitments and agreements signed within the Gulf Cooperation Council, particularly with regards to ceasing support for terrorist groups and their activities and ending media incitement.

Philippines worried about its workers

The Philippine government expressed concern over several Arab powers breaking off diplomatic ties with Qatar, saying this may have "ripple effects" on Filipinos working overseas.

"Concerned government agencies are looking at the matter and will extend assistance and other support for OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) who may be affected by such action" Ernesto Abella, presidential spokesman, told a media briefing.

Game off?

Channels of the beIN Media Group were blocked in the UAE on Tuesday. Authorities and telecommunications companies did not provide further details. The channels of Doha-based satellite network Al Jazeera have also been blocked.

The network acquired Al Jazeera's sports channels in 2013. It broadcasts in North America, Europe and Asia, as well as the Middle East and North Africa.

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