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Latest: UAE among 4 Arab nations to sever ties with Qatar

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Filed on June 6, 2017 | Last updated on June 6, 2017 at 02.28 pm
Latest: UAE among 4 Arab nations to sever ties with Qatar
A map of Qatar is seen in this picture illustration on June 5, 2017.

(Reuters)

UAE recalls citizens from, suspends flights to Qatar.

Four nations including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and UAE cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of creating instability in region.

The coordinated move dramatically escalates a simmering dispute over Qatar's support of the Muslim Brotherhood and adds accusations that Doha even backs the agenda of Iran.

The three Gulf states announced the closure of transport ties with Qatar and gave Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave their countries.

Saudi Arabia accused Qatar of backing militant groups and spreading their violent ideology, in an apparent reference to its influential state-owned satellite channel Al Jazeera.

"(Qatar) embraces multiple terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at disturbing stability in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Daesh, and Al Qaeda, and promotes the message and schemes of these groups through their media constantly," state news agency SPA said.

There was no immediate Qatari reaction to the announcements, but it has denied supporting terrorism or Iran in the past.

On its state news agency, Egypt, the Arab world's most populous nation, said Qatar's policy "threatens Arab national security and sows the seeds of strife and division within Arab societies according to a deliberate plan aimed at the unity and interests of the Arab nation."

Latest: UAE among 4 Arab nations to sever ties with Qatar (KT1202566.JPG)

The Latest on the Gulf Arab dispute with Qatar:

1:50pm

Kuwai Ruler to meet Saudi King over Qatar row

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.

1:45pm

Saudi Arabia revokes license of Qatar Airways, offices to close

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

Any licenses granted to Qatar Airways employees would also be withdrawn, the statement said.

1:00pm

Qatar says ready for mediation to ease Gulf rift

Qatar's foreign minister said on Tuesday Doha was ready for mediation efforts after the Arab world's biggest powers severed ties with it, adding that Qatar's ruler had delayed a speech in order to give Kuwait a chance to ease regional tensions.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani spoke by telephone overnight with his counterpart in Kuwait, which has maintained diplomatic ties with Qatar, and decided to postpone a speech to the Qatari people as requested.

Doha also decided not to retaliate against the measures.

Qatar wants to give Kuwait's Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah the ability to "proceed and communicate with the parties to the crisis and to try to contain the issue," Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said in comments to Qatar-based television.

Kuwait Amir had an important role in a previous Gulf rift in 2014 and Qatar's Sheikh Tamim "regards him as a parent and respects his desire to postpone any speech or step until there is a clearer picture of the crisis," the channel quoted the foreign minister as saying.

Qatar "believes such differences between sister countries must be resolved through dialogue."

12:30pm

Kuwaiti Amir, Advisor to Saudi King to discuss regional developments

Kuwaiti Amir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, held talks with Prince Khalid Al Faisal bin Abdulaziz, Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and Governor of Makkah region, on Monday, following a visit by the Saudi Prince to Kuwait.

The Saudi Prince conveyed a verbal message from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, regarding bilateral relations and issues of common concerns, and the two officials also reviewed regional and international developments, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

12:10pm

Qatar 2026 bond falls, CDS rise on rift with Arab states

Qatar's 2026 sovereign dollar bond fell further on Tuesday to its lowest level since mid-March, and the cost of insuring exposure to Qatar debt rose to near four-month highs after the Arab world's biggest powers severed ties with Doha.

The 2026 dollar-denominated eurobond fell 0.9 cents to 97.8 cents, a near three-month low, extending Monday's falls.

Five-year credit default swaps (CDS) for Qatar rose 2 basis points (bps) from Monday's close to 74 bps, according to IHS Markit data, the highest since mid-February.

11:25am

Qatari riyal slips against dollar in spot, forwards markets

The Qatari riyal fell against the US dollar in the spot and forwards markets early on Tuesday because of concern about the long-term economic impact on Qatar after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates severed ties with it.

The dollar was bid at 3.6470 riyal in the spot market, its lowest level since June 2016, according to Thomson Reuters data. The currency is pegged by the central bank at 3.64 to the dollar; the central bank only allows small fluctuations around this level.

One-year dollar/riyal forwards traded as low as 275 points, compared to Monday's close of 250 points and levels around 180 bps before the diplomatic crisis erupted.

The new levels still did not indicate very heavy pressure for depreciation of the riyal beyond its peg; one-year forwards implied depreciation of less than 1 percent over the next 12 months.

11:20am

Qatar stocks rebound 2.7 percent in early trade

Qatar's stock market rebounded in early trade on Tuesday after plunging on the previous day.

The Qatari stock index was up 2.7 per cent after half an hour of trade; it rose as much as 3.2 per cent at one stage. On Monday, it had tumbled 7.3 per cent.

Fund managers said there were hopes that Qatari state-linked funds could enter the market to buy shares and provide support, although it was not clear whether this had happened so far.

Shares in Islamic Bank Masraf Al Rayan jumped 7.4 per cent and Vodafone Qatar, the most heavily traded stock, gained 3.0 per cent.

11:00am

Qatar sports network blocked in UAE

A Qatari sports network has been blocked in the United Arab Emirates over a major diplomatic dispute.

Channels of the beIN Media Group appeared blocked 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.

11:00 am

UAE, Saudi banks hold off on Qatar deals

Some Saudi Arabian and the United Arab Emirates commercial banks are holding off on doing business with Qatari banks, such as letters of credit, because of the diplomatic rift in the region, banking sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

They said the banks, which declined to be named, were delaying deals until they received guidance from their central banks on how to handle business with Qatar.

They also said the UAE central bank had asked banks in the country to detail their exposure to Qatari banks, and that the Bahrain central bank had taken a similar step, setting a Thursday deadline to obtain the information.

10:40 am

Qatar Airways suspends flights to UAE, Egypt, Bahrain

Qatar Airways has canceled flights to Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates from Tuesday until further notice, the airline said on its website, a day after it had suspended flights to Saudi Arabia.

The airline said passengers holding a confirmed Qatar Airways ticket to any of the four countries between June 5 and July 6 are permitted to rebook their flights up to 30 days after their current departure date.

Qatar Airways said its offices will continue to operate as normal in affected countries until further notice.

10:00am

Turkey's Erdogan calls for dialogue to ease Gulf crisis

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has spoken by phone with the leaders of Qatar, Russia, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia on lowering tension, presidential sources said, after Arab powers cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting various terrorist.

"The importance of regional peace and stability was underlined in the talks, as well as the importance of focusing on the path of diplomacy and dialogue to lower the current tension," the sources said in a statement.

Turkey has good relations with Qatar as well as several of its Gulf Arab neighbours and Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told reporters after a cabinet meeting on Monday that Ankara wanted to help resolve the dispute.

After the talks between Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin said late on Monday they called for dialogue and compromise.

Erdogan also spoke with The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, and the Emirs of Qatar and Kuwait. The sources said Erdogan would continue his contacts on the issue.

9: 30am

Arab-Qatar rift may impact Filipino 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.

Fingers point to Qatar as sponsor of terror

Qatar should strive to regain trust of other Gulf countries

Qatar crisis: How you will be affected


Monday, 9.54pm

Saudi Arabia closes Al Jazeera office in the Kingdom

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.

6.43pm

Honour commitments: Organization of Islamic Cooperation tells Qatar

The Organization 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.

OIC, in a statement Monday, said it has been following closely the current developments in the Gulf region, namely the severance of diplomatic relations with Qatar by a number of OIC member states following information and evidence of hostile acts emanating from Qatar.

The OIC underscored the need for all OIC member states, including Qatar, to adhere to the principles of the OIC charter, which calls for adhering to the policy of good neighbourliness, respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Member States, and non-interference in their domestic affairs.

5.45pm

UAE, Saudi Arabia halt white sugar exports to Qatar

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have stopped exports of white sugar to Qatar after the two states broke off relations with Doha, in the first sign that the diplomatic crisis is hitting food trade, trade sources said on Monday, news agency Reuters reported.

Qatar is dependent on the UAE and Saudi Arabia for its white sugar imports, which are estimated at less than 100,000 tonnes annually. Consumption is higher during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which is currently being observed.

4.58pm

Maldives cuts diplomatic links with Qatar

The Republic of Maldives announced on Monday its decision to sever diplomatic relations with Qatar.

In a statement, the Maldives ministry of foreign affairs said that the country took this decision because of its firm opposition to activities that encourage terrorism and extremism.

The statement also reiterated the Maldive's commitment to work with countries that promote peace, stability, and show solidarity in the fight against terrorism.

4.50pm

Qatar Ambassador to Egypt given 48 hour notice to leave Egyptian territories

Qatar's ambassador to Egypt has been granted 48 hours to leave Egyptian territories following Egypt's decision to sever diplomatic relations with Qatar.

Ahmed Abu Zeid, spokesperson for the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the Ambassador of Qatar to Egypt, Saif Bin Muqaddam Al Buainain, was summoned to the ministry headquarters where he was informed of the Egyptian government's decision to sever ties with Qatar and was handed an official memorandum detailing the end of his accreditation as ambassador to the country with 48 hours to leave its territories.

Abu Zeid added that the Egyptian Charge d'affaires in Doha was also advised to return to Egypt within 48 hours.

3.50pm

Gulf Air suspends flights to and from Qatar

Gulf Air, the Kingdom of Bahrain's national carrier, on Monday announced the suspension of all its flights to and from Qatar, starting June 5.

The airline said in a statement that it will suspend its multiple daily service between Bahrain and Doha with effect from 23:59 on the 5th June, local Bahrain time, and until further notice, the Bahrain News Agency reported.

3.46pm

Saudi Arabian Airlines announces suspension of all flights to and from Qatar

Saudi Arabian Airlines, Saudia, has announced that that it will suspend all flights to and from Qatar.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, an airline official said that all flights to and from Qatar have stopped starting from today, adding, "Guests who have pre-confirmed reservations to and from Doha before the announcement of this decision can change their destinations or refund tickets without any additional charges."

2:15pm

Libya's eastern-based government cuts diplomatic ties with Qatar

Libya's eastern-based government has followed regional allies in cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar, its foreign minister, Mohamed Dayri, said.

The government, which sits in the eastern city of Bayda, has little authority within Libya. It is appointed by a parliament that also sits in the east and is aligned with powerful military commander Khalifa Haftar. They have spurned a UN-backed, internationally recognised government in the capital, Tripoli.

Dayri gave no immediate explanation for the Libyan move.

2:00pm

Saudi Arabia bans all Qatari planes from its airports, airspace

Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said on Monday it has banned all Qatari planes from landing in the kingdom's airports, following the worst rift in years among the Gulf countries.

A statement from the aviation body said the decision was effective immediately and involves all the Qatari private and commercial airplanes which will be banned from crossing the Saudi airspace.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) has suspended all flights to Qatar, it said on its official Twitter account on Monday, without providing further details.

1:52pm

Flight disruptions at Doha airport

Many flights were delayed or diverted at Doha's Hamad International Airport on Monday after UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar.

The countries have also suspended all flights to and from Doha from Tuesday morning until further notice.

Meanwhile, Qatar Airways said on its official website that it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia.

11:59am

Qatar bonds slide after Gulf states sever ties

Qatar's 2026 sovereign dollar bond fell to its lowest level since March on Monday after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed ties with Doha, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

Qatar's 2026 dollar-denominated eurobond fell 1.8 cents, according to Tradweb data, to 99 cents in the dollar. The shorter-term 2019 equivalent also slid, hitting its lowest since at least late 2013.

Credit rating agency Moody's said that the regional rift could have a negative impact on Qatar if it disrupts trade and capital flows.

11:30am

Yemen cuts diplomatic ties with Qatar

Yemen's internationally recognised government cut ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of working with its enemies in the Iran-aligned Houthi movement, state news agency Saba reported.

"Qatar's practices of dealing with the (Houthi) coup militas and supporting extremist groups became clear," the government said in a statement.

It added that Yemen supported a decision by a Saudi-led coalition fighting for more than two years to oust the Houthis from the capital Sanaa to remove Qatar from its ranks announced earlier on Monday.

11:15am

Flydubai to suspend flights to Qatar

Dubai based airline flydubai will suspend all flights to and from Doha from June 6 until further notice.

A flydubai spokesperson confirmed to Khaleej Times, ""From Tuesday 06 June 2017, all flydubai flights between Dubai and Doha will be suspended.

Passengers who have purchased tickets for travel between Dubai and Doha are advised to contact their travel agent, the flydubai travel shop in Doha on 00974 4 4227350/51 or our Contact Centre in Dubai on (00971) 600 54 44 45 to arrange a refund."

11:00am

UAE asks Qataris to leave in 14 days

The UAE has given Qatari residents and visitors 14 days to leave the country for precautionary security reasons. It will be preventing Qatari nationals from entering the country or crossing its points of entry. UAE airspace and seaports will be closed for all Qataris in 24 hours.

Qatari diplomats will also have to exit within 48 hours.

The UAE nationals have been banned from travelling to or staying in Qatar or transiting through its territories.

9:48am

Etihad Airways to suspend flights to and from Qatar from Tuesday

The Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad says it is suspending flights to Qatar amid a growing diplomatic rift.

Etihad said on its website Monday its last flights "until further notice" would leave early Tuesday morning.

Etihad gave no reason for the decision. It is the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates.

10:30am

Saudi to provide 'all assistance' to Qatari pilgrims

Saudi Arabia will provide all facilities and services for Qatari pilgrims currently in the Kingdom despite its decision to sever diplomatic relations with Qatar on Monday.

Earlier, a statement issued by the Saudi Press Agency instructed Saudi citizens to not travel, stay or transit in Qatar. Saudi citizens and visitors currently in Qatar are requested to leave the country in no more than 14 days.

For security purposes, Qatari citizens are also not allowed to enter or transit in Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom will give Qatari citizens no more than 14 days to leave the country, Al Arabiya English reports.

However, these directives do not affect Qatari pilgrims currently in Saudi Arabia. 

8:00am

Egypt severs diplomatic relations with Qatar

The Egyptian government has decided to sever diplomatic relations with the State of Qatar in light of the insistence of the Qatari government to take an anti-Egyptian stance and the failure of all attempts to dissuade it from supporting terrorist organisations, especially the Muslim Brotherhood organisation and its leaders, who have been sentenced in the course of terrorist operations targeting the security and safety of Egypt.

The Middle East News Agency quoted a statement issued by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry as saying that the decision is the result of Qatar's promotion of al-Qaeda and Daesh's ideologies and supporting the terrorist operations in Sinai, as well as Qatar's insistence on interfering in the internal affairs of Egypt and the countries of the region.

7:10am

The United Arab Emirates and Egypt have cut diplomatic ties to Qatar.

The two countries have joined Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in cutting ties to Qatar amid a growing Arab diplomatic dispute with the small, gas-rich nation.

Both the UAE and Egypt made the announcement on their state-run news agencies within minutes of each other.

7:00am

Saudi Arabia says it is cutting diplomatic ties to Qatar and it has pulled all Qatari troops from the ongoing war in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia made the announcement via its state-run Saudi Press Agency early Monday. It appeared to be timed in concert with an earlier announcement by Bahrain similarly cutting ties.

6:50am

Bahrain severs relations with Qatar

Bahrain says it is cutting diplomatic ties to Qatar amid a deepening rift between Gulf Arab nations.

Bahrain's Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement early Monday saying it would withdraw its diplomatic mission from the Qatari capital of Doha within 48 hours and that all Qatari diplomats should leave Bahrain within the same period.

The ministry's statement said Qatari citizens needed to leave Bahrain within two weeks and that air and sea traffic between the two countries would be halted. It wasn't immediately clear how that would affect Qatar Airways, one of the region's major long-haul carriers.

Bahrain blamed Qatar's "media incitement, support for armed terrorist activities and funding linked to Iranian groups to carry out sabotage and spreading chaos in Bahrain" for its decision.

Qatar had no immediate comment.

UAE's official news agency WAM tweeted about the move on Twitter.  In a series of tweets, UAE has asked the country diplomatic mission to leave the country within 48 hours. The Emirates has decided to prevent the entry into and through the country of the citizens to the state, says another tweet. Qatari citizens in the region have been given 14 days to leave the country for security and precautionary reasons. All the sea and airports coming and going to Qatar will be closed in 24 hours.  

 

HIGHLIGHTS: Gulf Arab states, Egypt, sever ties with Qatar

- Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain cut diplomatic and consular relations with the state of Qatar and will close all ground, sea and air ports to forbid transit, state news agencies said.

- It was not immediately clear when these measures would be implemented. Saudi Arabia said it would "begin immediate legal measures with friendly, sisterly countries and international companies to implement that measure as quickly as possible for all types of transit from and to the state of Qatar."

- Abu Dhabi-based Ethiad Airways said it would suspend flights to and from Qatar on Tuesday.

- The decision forbids Saudi, UAE and Bahraini citizens from travelling to Qatar, residing in it or passing through it, SPA said. Residents and visitors of those countries must leave Qatar within 14 days. Qatari citizens have 14 days to leave Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.

- Qatar has been expelled from a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

- Egypt said it was also severing ties and would close its airspace and seaports for all Qatari transportation to protect its national security. It was not immediately clear whether it was expelling Qataris or had asked its citizens to come home.





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