GCC Crisis Updates: Week 3

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June 19

The expulsion of Qatari citizens from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE has come into effect. Qatar continues to stand by their position of not expelling citizens of these countries.

Qatar says it will not negotiate with neighboring countries until they lift the trade and travel blockade, according to the foreign minister of Qatar.

UAE officials said that the blockade of Qatar could go on for years if Qatar does not change its policies.

The Association of National Olympic Committees, headed by Kuwaiti Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah requested that “sports must be separate from politics.” In a statement released by the ANOC, he said that he hopes the international sports movement in Qatar will not be affected by the geopolitical tensions in the Gulf.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, called on all nations involved in the Gulf spat to engage in direct dialogue and aim to resolve the crisis and de-escalate tensions. She also stressed the EU’s support for mediation efforts by Kuwait.

June 20

The UAE has called for a monitoring system to make sure that Qatar respects any agreement that is reached between the countries. Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said he hopes that officials from some European countries will take part to ensure Qatar’s cooperation. 

The US has said that it is “mystified” by the Gulf states’ position on the blockade of Qatar and the fact that they have still not released the list of grievances they claim to have drawn up. A spokesperson for the state department said that more doubt is raised about the anti-Qatar measures as more time is passing by. Qatar has welcomed this statement questioning the motives of the Gulf countries’ blockade of Qatar.

The QNA hacking that is speculated to have played an important part in the crisis between Qatar and other GCC countries has reportedly been linked to neighboring countries. Attorney General of Qatar, Ali Bin Fetais al-Marri said that Qatar has evidence originating from the countries laying siege to Qatar.

June 21

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has appointed his son, Mohammed bin Salman as the Crown Prince, with a royal decree replacing his nephew, Mohammed bin Nayef. US President, Donald Trump called the new Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia to congratulate him on his new role and to discuss the Qatar crisis. The Emir of Qatar also sent a cable of congratulations to the new Crown Prince on his promotion.

After cutting ties with Qatar, Saudi has asked that all camels and sheep owned by Qataris should be returned to Qatar. Around 15,000 camels and 10,000 sheep have already left. Qatari herdsmen are quite upset about the latest move. Qatari officials have been building emergency shelters on their side of the border, after several camels have been dying of thirst, caught up in the diplomatic troubles.

Turkey has begun sending food by sea after having already sent over 105 planes of food to Qatar over the last few days.

June 22

The Emir of Qatar held a phone call with Prime Minister of Canada and sent a written message to the President of Russia.

After the Indian Civil Aviation Minister announced plans to operate more flights to India, some Indian newspapers published news that this was due to the blockade of Qatar and that India would be "airlifting" its citizens. Several people in Qatar took to social media, declaring the news false. The Indian Ambassador to Qatar told the Peninsula that it was irresponsible of the media to write misleading reports and that the extra flights were arranged to accommodate the holiday rush. 

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