Saudi Arabia on Monday shut the local office of Qatar’s Al-Jazeera global news channel after the kingdom and other Gulf states severed ties with the e
Saudi Arabia on Monday shut the local office of Qatar’s Al-Jazeera global news channel after the kingdom and other Gulf states severed ties with the emirate.
“The Ministry of Information closed the office of the Al-Jazeera channel and withdrew the licence it was granted,” the official Saudi Press Agency reported.
On Monday, the governments of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain announced they had severed diplomatic relations with Qatar. Caught in the diplomatic crisis is the country’s national airline, Qatar Airways. The nations have said they will refuse the Qatari airline access to their airspace. But Saudi Arabia and the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai happen to be some of its biggest markets.
The governments accuse Qatar of destabilizing the region’s security by supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, and Iran. Qatar has denied this allegation. In a statement, the UAE’s ministry of foreign Affiars and International Cooepration,
“In support of the statements issued by the sisterly Kingdom of Bahrain and sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates severs all relations with the State of Qatar, including breaking off diplomatic relations, and gives Qatari diplomats 48 hours to leave the UAE.
“Closure of UAE airspace and seaports for all Qataris in 24 hours and banning all Qatari means of transportation, coming to or leaving the UAE, from crossing, entering or leaving the UAE territories, and taking all legal measures in collaboration with friendly countries and international companies with regards to Qataris using the UAE airspace and territorial waters, from and to Qatar, for national security considerations.”
While the countries can refuse landing rights, it’s unclear whether Bahrain, Egypt, or the UAE can legally ban Qatar Airways from their airspace, as they are signatories to the International Air Services Transit Agreement. Saudi Arabia is not an IASTA member country.
However, the United Arab Emirates said that Qatar would need to provide a guaranteed roadmap before it would consider mending ties.
“We need a guaranteed roadmap to rebuild confidence after our covenants were broken,” UAE state minister for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said on Twitter.
A longtime ally of the United States, Qatar hosts the largest US airbase in the region, which is crucial in the fight against Islamic State group jihadists. The country is set to host the 2022 football World Cup. The rift among Washington’s Gulf allies comes less than a month after US President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia and called for a united Muslim front against extremism.
It follows weeks of rising tensions between Doha and its neighbours, including Qatari accusations of a concerted media campaign against the emirate and the alleged hacking of its official news agency.