Posts Tagged ‘Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani’

Qatar Says Won’t Negotiate Until Economic Boycott Ends

June 19, 2017

DOHA — Qatar will not negotiate with Arab states that have cut economic and travel ties with it unless they reverse their measures, its foreign minister said, ruling out discussions over Qatar’s internal affairs including Al Jazeera TV.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said Qatar had still not received any demands from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which severed relations two weeks ago, triggering the worst Gulf Arab crisis in years.

Image result for Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, photos

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahmanal-Thani

The countries accuse Qatar of supporting Islamist militants and stirring up unrest, charges Doha denies.

“Qatar is under blockade, there is no negotiation. They have to lift the blockade to start negotiations,” Sheikh Mohammed told reporters in Doha. “Until now we didn’t see any progress about lifting the blockade, which is the precondition for anything to move forward.”

He said Kuwait’s ruler was the sole mediator in the crisis and that he was waiting for specific demands from Gulf states in order to take resolution efforts forward.

“We cannot just have (vague) demands such as ‘the Qataris know what we want from them, they have to stop this or that, they have to be monitored by a foreign monitoring mechanism,'” Sheikh Mohammed said.

Anything that relates to the affairs of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council is subject to negotiation, he said, referring to the body comprising Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.

“Anything not related to them is not subject to negotiation. No one has the right to interfere in my affairs. Al Jazeera is Qatar’s affairs, Qatari foreign policy on regional issues is Qatar’s affairs. And we are not going to negotiate on our own affairs,” he said.

Qatar’s Gulf critics have accused Al Jazeera of being a platform for extremists and an agent of interference in their affairs. The network has rejected those accusations and said it will maintain its editorial independence.

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The crisis has hit civilian travel, some food imports, ratcheted up tensions in the Gulf and sown confusion among businesses. But it has not affected energy exports from Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Sheikh Mohammed said Qatar would rely on other states if the boycott continued, including Saudi Arabia’s arch regional foe Iran.

“We have a back-up plan which depends mainly on Turkey, Kuwait and Oman,” he said. “Iran has facilitated for us the sky passages for our aviation and we are cooperating with all countries that can ensure supplies for Qatar.”

(Reporting by Tom Finn; writing by Sylvia Westall; editing by Mark Heinrich)

Qatar seeks Kuwaiti mediation after powerful Arab nations shun it

June 6, 2017

Reuters

Tue Jun 6, 2017 | 4:36am EDT

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By Tom Finn and Sylvia Westall | DOHA/DUBAI

Qatar’s ruler postponed an address to his country on Tuesday over its sudden and damaging diplomatic isolation from other leading Arab nations, in order to allow Kuwait some time and room to mediate.

In a sign of the potential consequences for the Qatari economy, a number of banks in the region began stepping back from business dealings with Qatar.

Qatar’s foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, said Doha was ready for mediation efforts after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic relations in a coordinated move.

Image result for Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani,, photos

They said the break was prompted by Qatari support for Islamist militants and Iran, something Doha vehemently denies.

Yemen, Libya’s eastern-based government and the Maldives joined later and transport links were shut down.

Qatar’s ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani spoke by telephone overnight with his counterpart in Kuwait, which has maintained ties with Qatar, and decided to postpone the speech, the minister told Qatar-based Al Jazeera television.

Doha has also decided not to retaliate against its neighbors’ moves, he said.

In one sign of the impact of the measures, some Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates commercial banks were holding off on doing business with Qatari banks, such as letters of credit, because of the diplomatic rift, banking sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

Qatar’s stock market rebounded in early trade on Tuesday after plunging the previous day but the Qatari riyal fell against the U.S. dollar.

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 said.

Kuwait’s emir 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,” Al Jazeera quoted the foreign minister as saying.

Sheikh Mohammed told the channel that the measures taken against Qatar affected its citizens and family ties in the Gulf Arab region, but said Doha would not take counter measures.

He said Qatar “believes such differences between sister countries must be resolved through dialogue” and proposed holding a session to exchange views and narrow differences, while respecting each other’s views, without giving details.

Kuwait’s emir, who has spent decades as a diplomat and mediator in regional disputes, hosted Sheikh Tamim last week as the crisis was brewing.

Monday’s decision forbids Saudi, UAE and Bahraini citizens from traveling to Qatar, residing in it or passing through it. Residents and visitors of those countries must leave Qatar within 14 days. Qatari citizens also have 14 days to leave those countries.

The measures are more severe than during a previous eight-month rift in 2014, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE withdrew their ambassadors from Doha, again alleging Qatari support for militant groups.

For graphic on Qatar and LNG market, click: bit.ly/2syvLUi

(Reporting by Ahmed Tolba in Cairo, Tom Finn in Doha, Tom Arnold, Hadeel Al Sayegh and Celine Aswad in Dubai, Writing by Sylvia Westall Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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Qatar in ‘chaos’ as Arab powers halt food supply — Qatar Says Ready for Mediation to Ease Gulf Rift

June 6, 2017

DUBAI — 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.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic relations with Qatar in a coordinated move on Monday. Yemen, Libya’s eastern-based government and the Maldives joined later and transport links were shut down.

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 Al Jazeera television.

Kuwait’s emir 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,” Al Jazeera quoted the foreign minister as saying.

Sheikh Mohammed told the channel that the measures taken against Qatar had an “unprecedented impact” on its citizens and on family relations in the Gulf Arab region, but said Doha will not take counter measures.

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

(Reporting by Ahmed Tolba, Writing by Sylvia Westall Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says he can mediate.  © AFP/File

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Qatar in ‘chaos’ as Arab powers halt food supply to country amid diplomatic rift

Crowds of people line up at supermarket checkouts

There are chaotic scenes in Qatari supermarkets today as people race to stockpile groceries after some of the Arab world’s biggest powers cut ties with the country for supporting extremism.

Key points:

  • Qataris stockpile food supplies amid border closure
  • UAE and Saudi Arabia stop sugar exports to Qatar
  • Gulf neighbours accuse Qatar of funding Islamist extremism

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all announced they would withdraw their diplomatic staff from Qatar yesterday, with Yemen, the Maldives and one of Libya’s three rival governments following suit.

It is being accused of providing funding to Islamists — an allegation which it vehemently denies.

In an unprecedented move, fellow Gulf states have closed all transport links with Qatar and ordered their citizens out of the country. They have given Qataris abroad 14 days to return home.

Now there are fears the shutting down of all land, sea and air links will trigger supply shortages to Qatar — a nation that is located on the Gulf peninsular and relies heavily on its only land border with Saudi Arabia to access food.

In fact, about 80 per cent of Qatar’s food requirements are sourced via bigger Gulf Arab neighbours.

Sure enough, as the border closed, supply difficulties quickly developed.

Thousands of trucks carrying food were reported to have been stuck at the Saudi border, unable to make the sole overland frontier crossing into Qatar.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia stopped exports of white sugar into Qatar — a potential hit to consumers during the holy month of Ramadan when demand is high.

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Photos of long lines, empty shelves at Carrefour grocery stores in following crisis. Qatar gets 40% of food supply by road via Saudi

Supermarket shelves were left looking bare as people rushed to stockpile food amid the uncertainty.

“People have stormed into the supermarket hoarding food, especially imported ones,” Eva Tobaji, an expatriate resident in Doha, said after returning from shopping.

“It’s chaos — I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

A supermarket customer told Al Jazeera: “I think it’s better to stock up on things my family and I need rather than being left out”.

Trade sources pointed to the likelihood of shortages growing in Qatar until the crisis eased.

An Iranian official said his country could export food to Qatar by sea, as Saudi Arabia and three other nations moved to isolate the gas-rich nation after severing diplomatic ties and accusing it of supporting terrorism.

The semi-official Fars news agency quoted Reza Nourani, chairman of the union of exporters of agricultural products, as saying that food shipments sent from Iran could reach Qatar in 12 hours.

The rift has caused Qatar’s stock market index to sink 7.3 per cent, with some of the market’s top blue chips hardest hit, and some Egyptian banks have said they will suspend dealing with Qatari banks.

AP/Reuters

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-06/arab-powers-halt-food-supply-to-qatar-amid-gulf-diplomatic-rift/8593506