February 25, 2018
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28 October 2017

US envoy retracts Qatar funding Hamas comments

  • Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, has retracted previous comments in which she claimed that Qatar was funding the Gaza-based Palestinian political movement Hamas.
  • Her reported comments, made in a memo to Congress obtained by BuzzFeed, come as the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed support in resolving the Gulf crisis. 
  • According to BuzzFeed, Haley said “Qatar has committed to take action against terrorist financing, including shutting down Hamas bank accounts.” That signals a reversal of her position at the start of the crisis in which she viewed the blockade as an “opportunity” to tell Qatar to “quit funding Hamas”. 
  • The Qatari emir says the US president has offered to hold a meeting at his retreat in Camp David to put an end to the Gulf diplomatic crisis.

  • Speaking to the US television programme 60 Minutes, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said Trump plans to bring the Gulf neighbours together in a bid to to mediate in the dispute.

  • “It is true, he [Trump] suggested that we come,” Sheikh Tamim told CBS News’ 60 Minutes about the US president’s offer to hold a meeting at Camp David.

  • “I told him straight away, ‘Mr President we are very ready, I’ve been asking for dialogue from day one’.”

  • When asked by host Charlie Rose about the blockading countries’ reaction, the emir replied: “It was supposed to be very soon, this meeting, but I don’t have any responses.”

26 October 2017

Saudi’s crown prince says Gulf-Qatar rift a ‘very small issue’

  • In an exclusive interview with Reuters news agency, he said “Qatar is a very, very, very small issue”.

Saudi’s crown prince says Gulf-Qatar rift a ‘very small issue’

  • In an exclusive interview with Reuters news agency, the crown prince said “Qatar is a very, very, very small issue”.

25 October 2017

Former Qatari PM voices concern over Gulf crisis

  • Former Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim Al Thani has called on King Salman bin Abdel Aziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia “to take the initiative”, help the region, and work to resolve the current Gulf crisis.

  • All parties made mistakes in the past, including Qatar, but Qatar has never acted with ill intent or malice against any of its Arab brothers especially its GCC partner, he told Qatar TV.

  • He rejected that Doha has acted against Riyadh, but stressed that his country has always coordinated and aligned its foreign policy especially regarding Iran, Yemen and Syria with the “Big Sister” Saudi Arabia.

Qatar and Russia sign military agreements

  • Qatar and Russia have signed military agreements related to air defences and military supplies, Qatar’s Armed Forces said a statement.

  • The deals were signed during a visit by Russian Defence minister Sergey Shouigu to Qatar on Wednesday.

  • Shouigu held a meeting with his Qatari counterpart Khaled bin Mohammed Al Attiya, during which they discussed the Gulf crisis, the war in Syria, and efforts in combat terrorism.

  • Qatar has reiterated its readiness for dialogue to solve the GCC crisis and called on its citizens and media outlets to refrain from attacking “Gulf symbols”.

  • A statement by Qatar’s foreign ministry on Tuesday was in response to a call by the Kuwaiti emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, for all sides to de-escalate the ongoing Gulf crisis.

  • The statement said Doha “hailed the appeal” made by the Kuwaiti leader and did not seek to “escalate the situation”.

  • “Qatar has a strong belief in the fairness of its position in this crisis and its adherence to dialogue based on mutual respect, on the basis of its principles and values,” the statement read.

24 October 2017

Kuwait warns against escalation

  • Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah has warned of dangers of escalation in the Gulf crisis, cautioning that the collapse of the Gulf Cooperation Council would be the end of one of the last bastions of Arab cooperation.

  • “We must be aware of the risks of escalation in the Gulf Crisis,” Sheikh Sabah said at a session of the Kuwaiti parliament, explaining that the crisis could worsen.

  • The Emir stressed that the crisis is at the top of Kuwait’s agenda and that the country’s aim is to resolve the issue and to protect the GCC from collapse, adding that every side is depending on Kuwaiti mediation.

Saudi FM on Iran and Qatar

  • Saudi Arabia supports US President Donald Trump’s stance on Iran after he decided not to certify that Tehran is complying with a nuclear accord, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Tuesday.

  • “(Iran’s behaviour) is not acceptable, and there will be consequences to the Iranians. This is what President Trump has said, and we are very supportive of that,” Jubeir said at a conference in London.

  • Asked about the latest developments in the Qatar crisis Jubeir said: “the matter is up to Qatar.”
  • Turkey is seeking to further boost cooperation with Qatar in health and pharmaceutical sectors Fikret Ozer ambassador of Turkey to Qatar, said on Tuesday.

  • In 2017 the exports to Qatar increased after the siege was imposed. Turkish media reported Qatar would invest a further $19bn in Turkey in 2018, with $650m going to agriculture and livestock.

  • “We are bringing many products here, but there is no land route between Turkey and Qatar. But now there is a cooperation between Qatar and Iran and Turkey, and there will be a new route between these countries. In due time, we will announce the agreement, which will be signed by the relevant ministers,” the ambassador explained.

23 October 2017

UAE hires US firm close to Steve Bannon to launch an anti-Qatar campaign

  • A company with “close ties” with Steve Bannon, ex-chief strategist of Donald Trump, was hired by the United Arab Emirates to launch a social media campaign against Qatar, US website McClatchy has reported.

  • McClatchy said that a $330,000 contract was paid by the UAE to the firm to launch a social media campaign that included calling for the boycott of Qatar. 

  • The hired firm, SCL Social Limited, is part of the same group as Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge Analytica is the firm that Donald Trump hired during his presidential campaign to reach voters with “hyper-targeted online messaging”, the website said.

Police interrogation of Hamood Sultan

Qatari chief of staff inaugurates office in Washington

Qatar’s FM visits Turkey 

  • During the visit, bilateral relations, as well as regional issues, will be discussed.

  • The Turkey-Qatar Supreme Strategic Committee was established in 2014 as a mechanism for cooperation and consultation between the two countries. 

  • President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repetitively spoken against the blockade.

22 October 2017

9:40pm – Qatar’s NHRC chief hopes for Spain support over blockade

  • The head of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee said he hoped Spain, through its membership in the United Nations Human Rights Council, would condemn the violations of the blockade imposed on Qatar by its Gulf neighbours.

  • Speaking at a press conference in Spain’s capital, Madrid, Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri said, “We thank Spain for its position, its support for dialogue to resolve the current Gulf crisis.”

  • He added, “Because Qatar is aware of Spain’s respect of rights and freedoms, especially when it comes to violations of human rights, we hope that Spain will support Qatar to condemn violations and unjust aggression by the blockading states.”

  • US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Saudi Arabia is not willing to begin direct talks to resolve a months-long diplomatic crisis in the Gulf.

  • The top US diplomat made the comments on Sunday during a visit to Qatar, where he arrived following a stop in Saudi Arabia as part of a new push to end the dispute.

  • “In my meetings with [Saudi] Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, I asked him to please engage in dialogue, [but] there is not a strong indication that parties are ready to talk yet. We cannot force talks upon people who are not ready to talk,” said Tillerson, referring to his earlier discussions in Riyadh.

Al-Bashir arrives in Kuwait

  • Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir began on Sunday a two-day visit to Kuwait and Qatar.

  • Bashir will discuss with the two Emirs the recent developments in the region.

  • In his meeting with the Emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Al Bashir will also discuss the two nation’s bilateral relations and peace and development efforts in Sudan.

  • Sudan is among the Arab states that refused to take sides in the ongoing diplomatic crisis and declared its support for the Kuwaiti efforts to settle the rift.

  • US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Saudi Arabia for the start of his Middle East tour as part of a new push to end the Gulf crisis.
  • Tillerson offered little optimism about a solution to the Gulf crisis before his tour, blaming the Saudi-led group of countries for the lack of progress.
  • “There seems to be a real unwillingness on the part of some of the parties to want to engage… It’s up to the leadership of the quartet when they want to engage with Qatar because Qatar has been very clear – they’re ready to engage,” Tillerson told Bloomberg news agency on Thursday.
  • Tillerson is also expected to visit Qatar on Sunday.

Qatar’s non-oil exports recover

  • Qatar’s non-oil export figures from July to September were almost twice as high as in June.
  • In September, exports had fallen by 12.6 percent compared with August but were 5 percent higher than in May before the blockade
  • “The substantial rise in exports to the normal level affirms that the unfair siege imposed on Qatar couldn’t stop or hinder the export processes for the Qatari private sector due to the robustness of the economy,” said Qatar Chamber Chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim Al Thani.
  • Oman was Qatar’s top non-oil export destination in September, accounting for 44.6 percent of the exports. Non-oil exports include aluminium alloys, iron grids, chemical fertilisers, and plastic rolls.

For previous developments click here 

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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