Kuwait Emir in talks with Saudis, Qataris to resolve Gulf crisis


Kuwait Emir in talks with Saudis, Qataris to resolve Gulf crisis

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will operate special flights to Doha to bring back Pakistani pilgrims stranded there, a day after several countries including Saudi Arabia and the UAE cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.

GACA also said all Saudi air operators are banned from operating to Qatar, with Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) soon announcing the suspension of all flights to Qatar.

The Gulf countries ordered their citizens out of Qatar and gave Qataris overseas 14 days to return home to their peninsular nation, whose only land border is with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic relations with Qatar in a coordinated move on Monday.

Though this tempest has been brewing for a while, the decision to cut off Qatar from, among other things, 40 per cent of its food supply "constitutes a dramatic change" in the policies of Saudi Arabia, which has until now worked to bring as many Sunni groups as possible into the fold, rather than pushing them out for bad conduct, Tzuriel was quoted by The Times of Israel as saying.

In turn, Qatar Airways announced on Tuesday it would suspend all flights to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain until further notice.

The spiraling situation has plunged the Gulf region, now struggling with a civil war in Yemen and inflamed antagonism between Iran and Saudi Arabia, into further instability.

Ankara voiced readiness to help resolve the dispute, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, while Iranian officials have offered to send food to Qatar by sea.

The Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

Foreign powers including the United States, a key ally of Qatar, made urgent calls for talks to end the crisis.

The crisis will have wide-ranging consequences, not just for Qatar and its citizens but across the Middle East and for Western interests.

Qatar is accused of supporting militant Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Gulf countries previously recalled their ambassadors from Qatar in 2014, ostensibly over its support for the Brotherhood, but Monday's moves go much further.

Qatar denies funding extremist groups.

US President Donald Trump has claimed the credit for creating split in the Gulf countries.

Qatar has an independent streak that has often angered its neighbours. PIA officials in Qatar have also been directed to contact the Pakistani embassy in Doha.

Fellow Gulf states are also reported to have been angered by a huge ransom paid by Doha earlier this year to secure the release of a hunting party, which included members of the Qatari royal family, kidnapped in southern Iraq.

The crisis began in late May when Qatar alleged that hackers took over the site of its state-run news agency and published what it called fake comments from its ruling emir about Iran and Israel.

Many in Qatar expressed shock over the sudden crisis, especially since it came during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The stories quoted him questioning U.S. hostility towards Iran, speaking of "tensions" between Doha and Washington and speculating that Trump might not remain in power for long.