Qatar-Gulf crisis: All the latest updates – Week 3

The latest news after some of the Gulf states and Egypt cut ties with Qatar and imposed a land, sea and air blockade.

Developments from Week 3 (June 19-25) since several countries, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, cut ties with Qatar on June 5. (All times local Doha time).

8:45pm – Iran’s Rouhani: Qatar siege not acceptable

  • Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani have held a telephone conversation, according to the office of the presidency’s website.

  • The Sunday report quotes Rouhani as telling the Emir of Qatar that the “siege of Qatar is not acceptable for us”, adding that “Tehran will stand by Qatar’s government”.

  • “Iran’s air space, ground and sea will be always be open to Qatar as a … friendly nation,” said Rouhani, and that the two countries’ cooperation will remain “continuous”.

  • Iran’s president added that “pressure, threats and sanctions” are not solutions for resolving rifts.

  • Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani extended wishes for the Eid al-Fitr festival, and said: “Qatar has open arms for interaction and cooperation.”

7:04pm – Tillerson: Some demands on Qatar very difficult to meet

  • US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says some demands on Qatar by a group of Arab countries that have imposed a blockade against it “will be very difficult to meet”.

  • In a statement issued on Sunday, the top US diplomat added, however, that the list submitted by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt includes “significant areas which provide a basis for ongoing dialogue leading to a resolution”.

  • “A productive next step would be for each of the countries to sit together and continue this conversation,” said Tillerson, confirming that Qatar has begun the review of the demands.

  • “We believe our allies and partners are stronger when they are working together towards one goal which we all agree is stopping terrorism and countering extremism,” Tillerson said, calling for a “lowering of rhetoric” to “help ease the tension”.

4:24pm – Sudan’s Bashir backs Kuwait mediation to end Gulf crisis

  • Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has reiterated his support for Kuwait’s mediation efforts to defuse the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf.  

  • In a speech marking the end of Ramadan, Bashir said: “We welcome Eid Al Fitr with all its joy and we recall what our Arab and Islamic nation is going through in terms of strife between honorable brothers who had and still have generous stances with our country”.

  • He said the situation “necessitates that we work” towards reconciliation and exert all efforts to bring them together, noting that Sudan will back all efforts that aim at ending the crisis.

  • “Sudan is backing the efforts made by the emir of Kuwait until his bona-fide intentions of maintaining this rift have been materialised,” Bashir added.

11:10am – Erdogan: Qatar ultimatum ‘is against international law’

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has welcomed Qatar’s stand on a list of demands from Saudi Arabia and its allies, saying that the ultimatum is “against international law”.
  • “We welcome [Qatar’s position] because we consider the 13-point list against international law,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu news agency on Sunday.

  • He also said calling for closure the Turkish base in Qatar was “disrespectful against Turkey”. 

2:01am – Qatar’s ambassador to Germany rejects all allegations of ties to “terrorism”

  • Sheikh Saud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said in an interview with German daily Der Tagesspiegel that Qatar has never backed “extremist” groups and will not support such groups in the future.

  • The ambassador said that no evidence had been provided to support the allegations made against Qatar, adding that they had been made in a sudden manner.

  • He pointed out that there were many meetings held under the GCC umbrella over the last few months – none of which saw these allegations surface. 

12:26am – Kuwaiti FM discusses regional issues with Tillerson, Johnson, Cavusoglu and others

  • The first deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Kuwait, the country leading mediation efforts to defuse the Gulf crisis, held on Saturday a series of telephone conversations with several international diplomats, according to state-run media.

  • Kuwait’s KUNA news agency said that Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah spoke with the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.  

  • He also had a phone discussion with Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s foreign minister, and Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief.

  • The diplomats discussed the latest regional and international developments, KUNA said. 

9:30pm – Analyst: Bridging Gulf gap to take months

  • Ibrahim Fraihat, associate professor in conflict management and humanitarian action at the Doha Institute, said that Qatar’s response to the Saudi-UAE list of demands is “most likely going to be a very short document”.

  • “With such high expectations and not very realistic demands I don’t think there’s much room to negotiate,” he told Al Jazeera.

  • “Because it’s no longer about the issue of terrorism or the relationship with Iran – it’s about much more than that. It’s about media freedom, the right of the people in the region to receive information and people around the world to get information about the Middle East,” he added.

  • Fraihat said the crisis is “serious”, noting that there is a “huge gap” between the positions of the opposing sides.

  • “I think this will require very intensive diplomacy from Kuwait in order to bridge the gap, which is going to take not weeks, but months,” he said.

5:21pm – El Salvador’s FMLN calls for peaceful solution, expresses solidarity with Qatar

  • El Salvador’s ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) party has expressed its solidarity with Qatar in the current diplomatic crisis in the Gulf.

  • In a statement, FMLN called for a peaceful solution to the crisis through diplomatic and political channels. 

3:50pm – UAE: Gulf states do not seek ‘regime change’ in Qatar

  • UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash has said the Arab countries imposing a blockade on Qatar are not seeking to force out the country’s leadership, but are willing to “part ways” if it does not agree to their list of demands.

  • Gargash told reporters in Dubai on Saturday that his country and its allies – Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain – do not want “regime change” in Qatar, but “bahavioural change”.

  • The comments come after the four countries presented a list of 13 demands to Qatar on Thursday, according to a report by the state-run Qatar News Agency.

7:10am – Demand to close Al Jazeera ‘reflects jealousy‘ 

  • Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab said the “push by Arab states for the close of Al Jazeera and its affiliates appears to reflect jealousy and internal fighting rather than a demand regarding the network’s content”. 

  • In an opinion article in the Washington Post, Kuttab said it was “vitally important to keep the media out of the current Gulf content”. 

  • He added: “Instead of trying to kill the messenger, the best way to respond to content that is unfavourable is to produce countering content”.

2:00am – Demands neither reasonable nor actionable, says Qatar

  • The Qatari government’s communications office has said in a statement that the demands submitted by four Arab states are neither reasonable or actionable.

  • The statement added that the “illegal blockade has nothing to do with combatting terrorism, it is about limiting Qatar’s sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy”.

12:30am – Qatar confirms receipt of list of demands

  • Qatar’s foreign ministry has said in a statement late on Friday that the country had received a list of demands from Saudi Arabia and its allies and it was studying the document in order to prepare an appropriate response to it.

  • The ministry said the answer would be handed over to Kuwait, a mediator in the Gulf crisis.

12:25am – Qatar’s rights agency: 13-point ultimatum violates human rights agreements

  • National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) has said a 13-point list of demands submitted to Qatar contain conditions that violate human rights conventions and other relevant international and regional agreements.

  • Its statement on Friday said Saudi Arabia and its allies were demanding gross violations of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the right to nationality and the right to asylum, which was against international law.

  • NHRC said lifting of the siege cannot be subject to restrictions or conditions and “it should therefore be lifted immediately and unconditionally”.

  • It called on all international human rights organisations to take prompt action to end this illegal siege and to prevent the implementation of those conditions which are contrary to human rights conventions.

  • NHRC also urged Qatar not to accept those demands.

11:20pm – UN aviation agency to hold hearing on Gulf airspace

  • Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti, Qatar’s transport minister, said on Friday that the UN aviation agency would hold a special hearing on June 30 on Qatar’s request to reopen Gulf airspace that is currently managed by the UAE.

  • Al Sulaiti met Fang Liu, the secretary-general of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, on Friday at its headquarters in Montreal, Canada.

  • He handed over a copy of a formal request for opening a permanent office of ICAO in Qatar and received an immediate approval.

10:30pm – White House: Gulf crisis is ‘family issue’

  • The White House said on Friday the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and four Arab states is a “family issue” that the states should work out among themselves.

  • Sean Spicer, the White House spokesman, would not comment on specific demands that Saudi Arabia and its allies have placed on Qatar.

  • He said the US was willing to play a “facilitating role” in the discussion. But he said he was not going to get into the middle of the discussion.

10:20pm – The Guardian: Demand to shut down Al Jazeera is ‘ridiculous’

  • A leading British publication, The Guardian, has published an editorial on Friday, referring in the headline to a demand by Saudi Arabia and its allies for Qatar to shut Al Jazeera Media Network as “muzzling journalism”.

  • “This is ridiculous. Qatar’s neighbours want to gag media that raises questions about the way these nations are run,” the article said.

  • “Al-Jazeera is not perfect. Its Arabic outlet has been accused in the past of being antisemitic and partisan. It rarely criticises Qatar’s absolute monarchy. However, Qatar abolished formal censorship two decades ago.”

  • “By comparison, in 2012 the UAE demanded David Cameron rein in adverse BBC coverage or it would halt lucrative arms deals.”

  • “Abu Dhabi is a regional media player. The UAE’s deputy prime minister owns Sky News Arabia, along with Rupert Murdoch’s broadcaster. According to observers this station put out fake news about Qatar’s ruler.”

9:45pm – UK: Demands made of Qatar must be measured, realistic

  • Britain’s foreign secretary has said that a major diplomatic crisis in the Gulf will end only when “measured and realistic” conditions are discussed, in comments made shortly after a 13-point ultimatum was reportedly issued by a Saudi-led bloc of countries that have cut ties with Qatar.

  • “Gulf unity can only be restored when all countries involved are willing to discuss terms that are measured and realistic,” Boris Johnson said on Friday, according to a statement published by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

  • “The UK calls upon the Gulf states to find a way of deescalating the situation and lifting the current embargo and restrictions which are having an impact on the everyday lives of people in the region,” Johnson added.

9:17pm – UN offers to help resolve Gulf crisis

  • The United Nations on Friday offered to step in to help resolve a deepening crisis in the Gulf after Qatar was confronted with a list of demands from its neighbours.

  • “We hope that the countries involved resolve the situation through dialogue,” said UN spokeswoman Eri Kaneko. “We are ready to assist if requested by the parties.”

  • “We continue to follow the situation with deep concern. We are aware of reports of a list of demands on Qatar. We are not able to comment in detail on, or confirm such a list.”

9pm – HRW: Demand to shut down Al Jazeera is ‘cowardly censorship’

  • Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director of Human Rights Watch, has said on Twitter: “The UAE and Saudi demand that Qatar shut down Al Jazeera doesn’t just punish Qatar; it punishes the millions of Arabs in the region from important news coverage. This is just an attempted expansion of the cowardly censorship they have inflicted on their own citizens, but it will fail.”

8:15pm – UAE envoy to US: Qatar measures ‘there to stay’

  • Yousef al-Otaiba, the Emirati ambassador to the US, has said that Qatar will remain cut off from its neighbours if it refuses to consent to their list of demands.

  • He told the AP news agency the measures taken against Qatar “are there to stay until there is a long-term solution to the issue”.

  • Still, he suggested the actions to pressure Qatar would remain economic and diplomatic. Otaiba said there was “no military element to this whatsoever”.

8pm – Assange: ‘Saudi’s demands are foolish’

  • Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has said on Twitter: “Saudi’s demands are foolish and clearly will not be agreed to. Either the Saudi leadership is disturbed or this is a pretext for conflict.”

6:45pm – Qatar envoy to US: Blockade on Qatar is a smokescreen

  • Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, Qatar’s ambassador to the US, said in an article published in Washington Post on Thursday that the allegations that Qatar supports “terrorism” and that it is a secret ally of Iran are just a smokescreen for an attempt to infringe upon Qatar’s sovereignty and punish it for its independence.

  • “They know terrorism poses just as much of a threat to Qatar as it does to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and every other nation.”

  • “The second big lie in this smear campaign is that Qatar is a secret ally of Iran. The Saudis, the UAE and every government in the Gulf maintain diplomatic and trade relations with Iran. In fact, Iran’s biggest trading partner is the nation now leading the anti-Qatar blockade: the UAE. But more important, Qatar has been providing vital support to the opposition in Syria – which is battling against government forces allied with Iran.”

  • Sheikh Meshal believes that the blockading states are seeking to isolate and punish Qatar for its independence and “to retaliate against us for supporting the true aspirations of people against tyrants and dictators”.

6:05pm – Al Jazeera: Call for closure siege against journalism

  • Al Jazeera Media Network has condemned a demand by Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries to shut the media organisation, calling it “nothing short than a siege against the journalistic profession”.

  • The network said in a statement on Friday that the move aimed “to silence the freedom of expression in the region and to suppress people’s right to information and the right to be heard”.

  • “We assert our right to practice our journalism professionally without bowing to pressure from any government or authority and we demand that governments respect the freedom of media to allow journalists to continue to do their jobs free of intimidation, threats, and fearmongering,” it said.

5:30pm – Twitter users hit back at Saudi-bloc’s list of demands

  • Almost immediately after the Saudi-led bloc’s 13-point list of demands was made public on Friday, Twitter users began posting their reactions under the hashtag “the list is refused”.

  • “Qatar refuses Saudi and the Emirates’ conditions and answers them with this voice message,” wrote one Twitter user, embedding a man singing an old Gulf song, asking his wife to “take your bag of clothes and leave my house for good” and telling her she has a “long tongue”, implying she talks too much. 

  • Other Twitter users circulated a humourous list of counter demands for both the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

4:35pm – Al Jazeera calls on all governments to respect media freedom

  • Giles Trendle, the acting managing director of Al Jazeera English, said: “The roots of the demand to close Al Jazeera probably goes back to 2011, to the time of the so called Arab Spring. We were covering those protests and we were providing a diversity of viewpoints, we were really the voice of the voiceless. I think there are some regimes in the region that don’t appreciate that diversity of views. I think that’s the reason for what’s going on here.”

  • “We are going to continue our editorial mission of covering the world news in a fair and balanced way. We call on all governments to respect media freedom. We hope other media organisations will support our call to defend media freedom.”

  • “We are stunned by the demand to close Al Jazeera. Of course there has been talk about it in the past but it is still a great shock and surprise to actually see it in writing. It’s as absurd as it would be for Germany to demand Britain to close the BBC.”

3pm – Media watchdog slams demand to shut Al Jazeera

  • Reporters Without Borders, a non-profit organisation promoting press freedom, has condemned the demand by Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries to shut Al Jazeera network and other media outlets in Qatar.

  • “We are really worried about the implication and consequences of such requirements if it will ever be implemented,” said Alexandra El Khazen, head of Middle East and North Africa desk at Reporters Without Borders.

2:10pm – UAE warns Qatar to take demands ‘seriously’

  • The United Arab Emirates says that the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf would turn into a “divorce” with Qatar if Doha does not take a list with 13 demands seriously.

  • State Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash also accused Qatar of leaking a document containing the demands by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, which have cut diplomatic ties with the gas-rich state accusing it of sponsoring terror.

  • The demands have not been officially unveiled.

11:00am – Turkey dismisses demand to close Qatar base

  • Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik told Turkish broadcaster NTV that his country had no plans to review a 2014 agreement with Qatar which led to the base being set up.

  • His reaction comes after Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries boycotting Qatar over alleged support for “terrorism” reportedly issued a list of demands, including closing down the military installation.

  • “The base in Qatar is both a Turkish base and one that will preserve the security of Qatar and the region, Isik said, calling the demands “an interference in bilateral ties”.

5:30am – Qatar’s neighbours ‘issue list of demands

  • Arab states boycotting Qatar have reportedly issued a 13-point list of demands which include shutting down Al Jazeera Media Network and scaling back on ties with Iran.

  • In the list, obtained by The Associated Press and Reuters news agency, the countries reportedly also demand that Qatar sever all alleged ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and ISIL among others. Qatar denies having ties to these goups.

  • The list adds that Qatar now has 10 days to comply with the demands without specifying the course of action if Qatar does not comply.

2:10am – Qatar rejects claim of supporting Syrian ‘terror group’

  • Qatar has never supported Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, the Syrian group formerly known as the Nusra Front, or any other “terrorist group”, its foreign minister says.

  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said in an interview with France 24 Arabic that Qatar had always “abided by international laws” and played a key role in the international coalition fighting ISIL.

  • The foreign minister added that he expects to receive a list of demands from Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the next two days, but stressed Qatar would not accept any “foreign dictations”.

7:50pm – Qatar slams remarks made by Libyan militia spokesman

  • Qatar on Thursday rejected and condemned the statement made by the so-called Colonel Ahmad Al Mismari, spokesman for Haftar’s forces, which said Qatar intervened in the internal affairs and financed “terrorism” in Libya.

  • Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Rumaihi, spokesman of the foreign ministry, said Qatar’s policy is based on clear and consistent principles of mutual respect between states and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

  • Al-Rumaihi said that Mismari’s statement is baseless, false and misleading allegations, referring to Haftar’s force as the rogue and illegally funded armed militia, which he said is known for its crimes against civilians.

6:30pm – Qatar Airways seeks to buy stakes in American Airlines

  • Qatar Airways is attempting to buy a 10 percent stake in American Airlines, which has confirmed the move by filing for a required review by the US justice department’s antitrust division.

  • American said in the regulatory filing onThursday that the bid was unsolicited, but that the CEOs of both airlines have spoken.

  • “The proposed investment by Qatar Airways was not solicited by American Airlines and would in no way change the Company’s Board composition, governance, management or strategic direction,” said American.

5pm – Qatar and France conduct joint naval exercises

  • Qatari Emiri Naval Forces and French Naval Forces conducted military trainings north of Qatar on Thursday.

  • Qatar’s defence ministry said in a statement that the trainings included sailing in shallow water and refueling at sea.

4pm – Iran sends 1,100 tonnes of food to Qatar daily: report

  • Iran is shipping more than 1,000 tonnes of fruits and vegetables to Qatar every day after Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia cut relations with Doha, Fars news agency quoted Mohammad Mehdi Bonchari, director of ports in Iran’s Boushehr province, as saying on Thursday.

  • Iran began sending food to Qatar shortly after the Gulf crisis left the emirate without the land transport links it usually relies on to import food.

  • On June 11, Fars quoted the head of Iran’s cattle exporting association as saying 66 tonnes of beef had been exported to Qatar, with another 90 tonnes of beef expected to follow.

11am – Turkey, Saudi Arabia discuss Qatar rift

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and its new crown prince over the phone on Wednesday.

  • They agreed to increase efforts to end tension related to Qatar, sources from Erdogan’s office said.

4am – Qatari letter to Russia

  • Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani sent a written message to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the developments in the Gulf.

  • The message was received by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during a meeting with Qatar’s Ambassador to Russia Fahad Bin Mohammed Al Attiyah.

2:30am – Canadian-Qatari phone call

  • Qatar’s Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani held a telephone conversation with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss the Gulf crisis.

  • Trudeau expressed his concern over the situation, stressing the need for “calm, dialogue based on facts, transparency and mutual respect”, Qatar News Agency reported.

11:00pm – Congratulations for Saudi crown prince

  • Qatar’s Emir, whose country is facing a blockade by Saudi Arabia and its allies, has congratulated Mohammed bin Salman on his appointment as crown prince of Saudi Arabia, the state news agency QNA said.

  • Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani sent a cable to Prince Mohammed “wishing him success… for the good of the kingdom under the wise leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques… and for more progress for brotherly relations between the two brotherly countries”.

9:48pm – Turkey sends food stuff by sea

  • Turkey is sending food supplies to Qatar by sea on Wednesday to compensate for a recent embargo by Qatar’s neighbour states, according to Turkey’s economy minister.

  • In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency on Wednesday, Nihat Zeybekci said that nearly 105 cargo planes have already carried food from Turkey to Qatar.

  • “However, it is not economical [or sustainable] to send food stuff by plane,” he said.

  • The minister stated that further shipments will follow Wednesday’s batch, adding that the Turkish products started to be delivered also by land.

  • Zeybekci further said Turkey also began to ship more durable consumer goods and house maintenance requirements to Qatar.

9:43pm – Turkish-Qatari business

  • A delegation of Turkish businessmen met with their Qatari counterparts in Doha on Wednesday to discuss bilateral trade and economic relations amid Qatar’s ongoing diplomatic crisis.

  • Fairuz Mohieddin, the CEO of a major Qatari company, told Anadolu Agency: “We have agreed with the Turkish delegation on a joint strategy for providing Qatar with whatever foodstuffs, medical supplies, and construction materials it needs.”

  • “Qatar is facing serious shortages in the medical sector, for which it had largely depended on Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE,” Turkish delegation member Atilla Kurucayirli told Anadolu Agency.

  • “The Turkish side wants to know Qatar’s exact logistic needs and how to best carry out joint projects that will serve Qatar’s interests in the coming phase,” he added.

9:10pm – List of demands from Qatar 

  • US State Secretary Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday Washington hopes that Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies will soon present Qatar a list of “reasonable and actionable” demands to move the diplomatic crisis toward a resolution.

  • “We understand a list of demands has been prepared and coordinated by the Saudis, Emiratis, Egyptians and Bahrainis,” Tillerson said in a statement. “We hope the list of demands will soon be presented to Qatar and will be reasonable and actionable.”

  • Tillerson said the US backs a Kuwaiti mediation effort aimed at resolving the crisis.

9pm – Trump discusses Gulf crisis with Saudi Arabia’s new crown prince

  • The White House said on Wednesday that US President Donald Trump called Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to express their shared commitment to “cutting off all support for terrorists and extremists, as well as how to resolve the ongoing dispute with Qatar.”

  • Trump and Mohammed bin Salman, who was elevated from deputy crown prince to crown prince earlier on Wednesday, also discussed efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

6:30pm – Doha welcomes US stance on anti-Qatar blockade motives

  • Qatar has welcomed a statement by the United States questioning the motives behind a series of anti-Qatar measures imposed this month by several Arab countries, according to a report published in state media.

  • Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Rumaihi, spokesman for Qatar’s foreign ministry, expressed Doha’s “welcome” on Wednesday, a day after the US state department said it was “mystified”that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and their allies had not released their claimed grievances about Qatar.

10am – Saudi Arabia deports Qatari camels

  • Saudi authorities expelled more than 12,000 camels and 5,000 sheep and their Qatari herders from its territory.

  • Some of the camels – each of them can be worth up to $75,000 – died after the border was closed because Saudi authorities would not allow their Qatari herders to retrieve them.

6:30am – Mohammed bin Salman named Saudi Arabia’s crown prince

  • Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz, 57, deposed as Saudi Arabia’s crown prince.

  • Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, 31, the son of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, has been appointed in his place.

  • Bin Salman also named deputy prime minister, while maintaining post of minister of defence.

3:30am – UN chief backs Kuwait mediation initiative

  • United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he thinks the most likely successful mediation of the row between Qatar and Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries should be regional – like the current effort led by Kuwait’s emir.

  • Guterres, added, however, that if the United States gets involved in mediation, “that, of course, will be welcome if they are able to do so in an effective way”.

  • Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah, the emir of Kuwait, said on Sunday that all parties in the dispute had a duty to preserve regional unity and called for dialogue to resolve the crisis.

  • In a speech, the emir said he hoped the remaining days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan would create “the atmosphere for resolving unfortunate differences and ending the rift through dialogue and communication” in the Gulf.

10:46pm – QNA hacking linked to states ‘laying siege to Qatar’

Qatar’s Attorney General Ali Bin Fetais al-Marri said in Doha on Tuesday: “Qatar has evidence that certain iPhones originating from countries laying siege to Qatar were used in the hack [of Qatar News Agency]”.

He did not name the countries.

10:40pm – NHRC’s chairman: Qatar’s blockade is a new Berlin Wall

  • Qatar’s Chairman of National Rights Committee Ali bin Samikh al-Marri has said that the blockade imposed on his country is like a “new Berlin Wall”.

  • Speaking at a European Parliament meeting in Brussels, Marri urged the body to visit the NHRCheadquarters to see what he referred to as the suffering of Qatari citizens by the new regulations of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

  • “This is not just a case of diplomatic ties being cut off,” Marri said. “What is happening is not a boycott but an unjust blockade and a collective punishment for Qatar’s citizens and residents.”

9:22pm – US ‘mystified’ by Gulf states position towards Qatar

  • US state department has said it is “mystified” that Gulf states have not released details about their grievances towards Qatar more than two weeks after they imposed a blockade on the country.

  • Heather Nauert, the state department spokesperson, said in Tuesday’s press briefing that the more time goes by “the more doubt is raised” about Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirate’s anti-Qatar measures.

  • “At this point, we are left with one simple question: Were the actions really about their concerns regarding Qatar’s alleged support for terrorism or were they about the long-simmering grievances between and among the GCC countries,” she said, referring to the Gulf Cooperation Council.

6:44pm – UAE wants US, European monitors for any Qatar deal

  • Anwar Gargash, UAE’s foreign minister, said in Brussels on Tuesday that “we do need to create some sort of monitoring system of Qatar’s obligations”.

  • He said he hoped US and European officials from countries like Britain, France and Germany could take part.

  • Gargash said he expects the crisis to drag on because “the Qataris are still in a state of denial”.

5:06pm – Qatar reassures US about LNG exports stability

  • Qatar’s finance minister told US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during a trip to Washington last week that Qatar was committed to maintaining stability around its exports of liquefied natural gas to the global energy market, according to a statement by Qatar’s government communication office.

  • “They discussed Qatar’s efforts to counter terror financing… and Qatar’s commitment to maintaining stability around its exports to the global energy market,” the statement said.

2:50pm – Qatar sovereign fund deposited dollars in local banks 

  • Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund made US dollar deposits in some local banks last week as a precaution after Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states cut diplomatic and transport ties with Doha, Qatari commercial bankers said.

  • One Qatar-based banker, whose own institution received funds, said new deposits in the banking system by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) at the end of last week were believed to total several billion dollars. He described the deposits as “pre-emptive”.

  • At a recent meeting between top commercial bank executives and central bank officials, the executives said they did not need dollar liquidity at present, the banker told Reuters news agency, declining to be named because of commercial sensitivities.

10:45am – Qatar FM to travel to US to discuss Gulf rift 

  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, Qatar’s foreign minister, said he plans to travel to the US next week to discuss the impact of restrictions on Qatar’s economy.

1:50am – HRW delegation meets Qataris affected by blockade

  • A delegation from Human Rights Watch has met with officials from Qatar’s National Human Rights Council (NHRC) and Qatari citizens affected by a blockade imposed by a Saudi-led bloc of neighbouring countries against Qatar.

  • During the meeting, which took place at the NHRC’s headquarters, the delegation was informed about the legal and humanitarian consequences resulting from the moves against Qatar.

  • A large number of Qatari citizens listed their complaints, including violations of their right to education, right to own property, right to mobility and the right to family reunion. The NHRC says it has so far received more than 1,750 complaints.

11:36pm – Sudanese president in Saudi for talks on Gulf rift

  • Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir has arrived in Saudi Arabia for talks with Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz on the Gulf crisis and means of resolving it

  • Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said that Bashir will reiterate his support to the Kuwaiti mediation efforts to solve the crisis, stressing that Khartoum will exert all efforts to bridge the gap between the GCC states.

11:06pm – EU calls for ‘direct dialogue’ in Gulf crisis

  • The European Union has urged Gulf countries to “de-escalate the tensions and to engage in direct dialogue” and called for “no unilateral steps” following a major diplomatic fallout in the region.

  • “Any difficulty, any tension, can be and must be resolved at a table, discussing, in dialogue, finding common ways, and politically,” Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign affairs head, told reporters in Luxembourg on Monday.

  • “The region is already fragile enough, dangerous enough, and we are starting to see dangerous spill-overs already both in the broader region but also in Africa and in Asia,” she added.

  • “There are worrying signals, so we really invite all to find a way to solve any tension, any controversies, at a table, discussing through dialogue, politically, without exacerbating tensions. It is always possible and even more so has to be possible among countries that belong to the Gulf Cooperation Countries.”

10:05pm – Egyptian, Abu Dhabi leaders meet

  • Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan have met in Egypt’s capital, Cairo.

  • “Both sides stressed the importance of all Arab states and the international community fighting terrorism, especially stopping the funding of terrorist groups and providing political and media cover,” Sisi’s office said in a statement.

  • The statement did not refer to Qatar, which both Egypt and the United Arab Emirates blame for supporting armed groups.

7:55pm – How the Gulf crisis played out online

  • The recent short-term suspension of Al Jazeera Arabic’s Twitter account highlights the fact that a major part of the commentary, rumours and backlash on the Gulf crisis took place online. 

  • Here is a look back at the tweets, hashtags and Instagram drama that dominated the ongoing Gulf tensions.

7:55pm – ANOC: Politics and sports must stay separate 

  • The Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) on Monday expressed concern about the diplomatic crisis revolving around Qatar, saying that politics and sports must stay separate.

  • Switzerland-based organisation said: “ANOC today expressed its hope that the international sports movement  in Qatar would not be endangered by the geopolitical situation in the Gulf region.” 

  • Qatar has hosted big sports events in recent years, as well last last year’s ANOC assembly. Future events in the country include the world athletics championships 2019 and the 2022 football World Cup.

7pm – Qatar to file complaint against two news channels

  • State-run Qatar News Agency instructed on Monday a law firm to file a formal complaint with Ofcom, Britain’s telecommunications regulator, against two news channels for their coverage of Qatar.

  • The British law firm, Carter-Ruck, will be raising concerns regarding Sky’s Abu Dhabi-based subsidiary, Sky News Arabia, and the Saudi-owned Dubai-based Al-Arabiya news channel.

6:10pm – Qatar Airways CEO: blockade will leave lasting wound

  • The top executive of Qatar Airways has warned that the blockade imposed on his country by neighbouring Gulf countries “will leave a lasting wound.”

  • Akbar Al Baker told The Associated Press news agency on Monday that he expected US President Donald Trump to intervene “to make sure that this blockade is lifted soonest…especially since he knows that we are part of his alliance against terrorism.”

5:45pm – Qatar FM: We won’t negotiate until blockade is lifted

  • Qatar’s foreign minister said that Doha will not negotiate with Arab states that have cut economic and travel ties with the country unless they reverse their measures.

  • “Qatar is under blockade, there is no negotiation. They have to lift the blockade to start negotiations,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told reporters in Doha on Monday.

  • “Until now we didn’t see any progress about lifting the blockade, which is the precondition for anything to move forward,” he said.

1:35pm – UAE minister says Qatar’s blockade could ‘last years’

  • Anwar Gargash, UAE’s minister of foreign affairs, said Qatar’s diplomatic isolation could “last years”.

  • “We do not want to escalate, we want to isolate,” Gargash told journalists during a visit to Paris.

  • Gargash added that Qatar must abandon what he called its support for “extremist Islamists” before a solution can be brokered.

1:30pm – Expulsion of Qataris from Gulf states comes into effect

  • The deadline for Qataris to leave neighbouring Gulf Arab states has come into effect as the diplomatic standoff persists despite multiple mediation efforts.

  • Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar on June 5 and announced that Qatari residents would have 14 days to leave. The deadline was Monday.

  • Officials later clarified there would be exceptions for mixed-nationality families in the Gulf.

11:15am – Iraq PM heads to Saudi Arabia to foster regional reconciliation 

  • Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is travelling to Saudi Arabia on Monday, in the first leg of a Middle East tour that will also include Iraq and Kuwait, his office said. 

  • Abadi’s visit to Saudi Arabia aims to promote reconciliation between the two countries. 

  • Abadi was due to visit Riyadh last week, but postponed his trip to avoid appearing to take sides in the diplomatic dispute. 

9:36am – ‘100 complaints a day’: Qatar rights body highlights human cost of blockade

  • Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) said it has received more than “100 complaints a day” by people who have been affected by the ongoing rift between Qatar and the GCC states that have imposed a blockade on the country. 

  • “In the first week we had 700 complaints. In the last four or five days the numbers have risen significantly,” NHRC’s Saad al-Abdulla told Al Jazeera. 

  • The NHRC said many of the complainants have been forced to abandon businesses and careers built across borders.

8:34am – ‘GCC social-fabric being torn apart’

  • Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani, director of Qatar government’s communications office, said on Sunday that the humanitarian impact of the blockade imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia and its allies “is real”. 

  • Al Thani said: “The social-fabric of [the] GCC population is being torn apart for political reasons and we will not allow ourselves to be a party to this injustice.” 

  • He added that the countries that have imposed the blockade “are using terrorism as a publicity stunt”. 

3:04am – Qatar economy minister: Business unaffected by blockade

  • Qatar’s minister of economy and commerce says trade in the country is running as usual despite a land, air and sea embargo imposed by a Saudi-lec bloc of neighbouring countries.

  • Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed Al Thani said in an interview with Qatar TV on Sunday that authorities responded quickly to the closure of the borders by getting products through sea and other means.

  • The minister called the moves against Qatar unjustified and said that many Qatari businessmen, who have warehouses and factories in the countries that imposed the blockade, are now finding it difficult to travel or manage their businesses.

12:05am – Turkish troops arrive in Qatar for military exercise

  • Qatar’s defence ministry says a group of Turkish soldiers have arrived in the capital, Doha, to take part in joint military exercises.
  • It said the forces conducted their first training at the Tariq bin Ziyad military base. 

  • The exercises, which had been long planned, are part of a mutual agreement aimed at strengthening the defence capabilities of both sides, as well as boosting efforts to combat armed groups and maintaining stability in the region.

Qatar-Gulf crisis: All the updates – Week 2 (June 12-18)

Qatar-Gulf crisis: All the updates – Week 1 (June 5-11)