Published: Tue, June 06, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Saudi Arabia revokes Qatar Airways licence

In March 2014, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar over that rift.

CAIRO (AP) - Egyptian officials say the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors has yet to affect the 300,000 Egyptian workers in the tiny, energy-rich country, amid fears they could be expelled or stranded. Airlines suspended flights and residents nervous about the peninsula's lone land border closing cleaned out grocery store shelves.

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 chose to postpone the speech, the minister told Qatar-based Al Jazeera television.

Kuwait's state-run KUNA news agency said the emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, urged Qatar's ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to "exercise self-restraint and refrain from steps that would escalate the situation".

Trump's tweets are the first public statement he has made on Monday's news that multiple states in the Middle East have suspended economic and diplomatic relations with Qatar. The call came after a senior Saudi royal arrived in Kuwait with a message from the Saudi king.

Qatar's ruler postponed an address to his country over its sudden and damaging diplomatic isolation, in order to allow Kuwait some time and room to mediate.

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Not surprising that this has happened a fortnight after US President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia, which banned Qatari planes from landing on its land. Trump did not take a position, but appeared to suggest it was understandable to isolate Qatar.

Banks reducing their business with Qatar could lose out financially, but the damage looks likely to be relatively minor.

Despite a longstanding view that Qatar is a sponsor of regional terrorism, Egypt will need to be careful in its position as it risks having workers expelled from the Gulf state. As with these countries, we have normal relations with Qatar. Saudi Arabia said it would begin blocking all Qatari flights at midnight. Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen and the Maldives were also among the governments that severed ties.

Saudi Arabia and at least four other Arab nations are cutting all ties with Qatar, citing concerns over terrorism and regional stability and igniting debate over the rift's impacts among key USA allies in the Middle East.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he did not expect the dispute to have "any significant impact... on the unified fight against terrorism".

It is also set to host the 2022 football World Cup. It did not elaborate.

Saudi and allies cut Qatar ties in diplomatic crisis
Most of Qatar's food comes from Saudi Arabia across the peninsular nation's only land border, which the Saudis have now closed. Qatar is the site of the sprawling al-Udeid Air Base, home to the forward headquarters of the USA military's Central Command.

The Saudi state-owned SPA news agency said Qatar "embraces multiple terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at disturbing stability in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State, and al-Qaida, and promotes the message and schemes of these groups through their media constantly".

The Irish Embassy in Abu Dhabi has advised Irish citizens living in Qatar to register themselves and their families with the Department of Foreign Affairs and latest travel updates are available on @dfatravelwise - the embassy's twitter account is @IrelandEmbUAE. They cut air, sea and land links and ordered Qatari officials and nationals stationed in their countries to return home.

Ganesh Gurung, a labor and migration expert in Kathmandu, said some Nepali truck drivers have already lost their jobs because of the closure of the Saudi-Qatar border.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates said Monday they would cut diplomatic ties.

Some Saudi Arabian and UAE commercial banks were also shunning Qatari banks, holding off on letters of credit, banking sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

Qatari nationals in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been given two weeks to leave, while in Qatar itself-a peninsula that relies heavily on food imports-panic buying has been reported.

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