Qatar Crisis Hits Stalemate

Illustration; Image Courtesy: Port of Fujairah

The economic and political sanctions imposed on Qatar earlier this month could protract indefinitely, BBC News reports citing a UAE government spokesman, according to whom Qatar seems to be unwilling to comply with a list of demands set by a number of Arab countries.

Namely, after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar on June 5, the countries requested that Qatar stop funding terrorism, which the country denies doing, reduce its ties with Iran and shut down its Al Jazeera broadcaster, among other things, by July 3.

BBC News cited Omar Ghobash, UAE government spokesman, as saying that Qatar “is not responding positively” to the demands. He added that the situation could eventually lead to expelling Qatar from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

However, Qatar’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said that the demands of the “siege countries are mere claims and should be supported by evidence,” adding that the demands should be realistic and feasible, and that everything else is unacceptable.

Furthermore, the minister went on to say “we have heard statements that these demands are not negotiable”, pointing out that it “is contrary to the basis of international relations, to present lists of demands and to refuse to negotiate.”

“We agree that the State of Qatar will engage in a constructive dialogue with the parties concerned if they want to reach a solution and overcome this crisis,” the minister noted, stressing that Qatar is ready to hold positive dialogue with all countries if they have claims that are based on clear evidence.

The sanctions imposed earlier this month have seen air, sea, and land border connections with Qatar blocked by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt.

All Qatari-flagged ships, or vessels destined for or arriving from Qatar were banned by its four Arab neighbors. Ocean carriers including COSCO, Evergreen, and OOCL suspended their shipping services to Qatar, while Maersk and MSC re-routed shipments.

World Maritime News Staff

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