AU chairman calls for 'dialogue' in Gulf crisis

by Marta Holmes June 12, 2017, 7:48
AU chairman calls for 'dialogue' in Gulf crisis

As well as cutting air, sea and land links with Doha, three of the countries involved - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE - ordered Qatari citizens to leave within 14 days.

"So far five planes carrying perishable food items such as fruit and vegetables have been sent to Qatar, each carrying around 90 tonnes of cargo, while another plane will be sent today", a spokesman for Iran Air, Shahrokh Noushabadi, said on today.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt have tightened their squeeze on Qatar by putting dozens of figures and charities they link to the country on terrorism blacklists.

Morocco, a close ally of the Gulf countries, said on Sunday it would remain neutral and offered to facilitate dialogue.

But the blockade sparked an economic crisis with a massive food shortage hitting the gas-rich country after panicked residents raided local grocery stores.

The Islamic republic has also opened its airspace to about 100 more Qatari flights a day, after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates banned Qatari planes from their airpace.

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Almost a week after Saudi Arabia and several of its allies severed ties with Qatar in an unprecedented Gulf diplomatic crisis, there were no signs of the bitter dispute being resolved.

On Sunday, Kuwait's state-owned news agency, KUNA, publicized a statement attributed to the Kuwaiti foreign minister which said, "Kuwait affirms the readiness of the brothers in Qatar to understand the reality of their brothers and to heed the noble endeavors to enhance security and stability".

"The state of Qatar has not taken any steps regarding the inhabitants on its territories, who are the citizens of brotherly and friendly countries which have cut diplomatic relations or downgraded diplomatic representation with the state of Qatar in the wake of biased and hostile campaigns against the state of Qatar", the government said in a statement.

It said Qatar was acting in "accordance with its firm beliefs and principles".

The NHRC said in a statement on Sunday that a hotline set up by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain to assist mixed Qatari families who faced the prospect of deportation and expulsion was "too vague to have any practical impact" and was "void of a mechanism to be of assistance to those affected".

There are 2,349 Bahrainis and 784 Emiratis in the country.


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