QATAR: Several Middle Eastern Countries Sever Diplomatic Ties

June 5, 2017

Six Middle Eastern countries, including three Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) Member States, have severed their diplomatic ties with Qatar with immediate effect, citing Qatar’s alleged promotion of extremism and terrorism and a need to ‘preserve (their) national security’.

The following countries have announced their withdrawal from diplomatic relations with Qatar:

  • Saudi Arabia
  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Bahrain
  • Egypt
  • Libya
  • Yemen

Bahrain and Saudi Arabia first announced their intention to withdraw from their relationships with Qatar this morning, with the UAE, Egypt, Yemen and Libya swiftly following suit, following comments allegedly made by Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Hamad Al Thani two weeks ago.

Comments made by Al Thani, allegedly referring to Iran as an ‘Islamic power’, were published on Qatar’s official news agency. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt proceeded to block several Qatari media outlets, which prompted Qatar to claim that their website had been hacked and the Emir’s comments therein had been fabricated.

The three GCC member states, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, have imposed the following restrictions:

  • All Qatari nationals currently in any of the three GCC Member States have 14 days to vacate the countries. Qatari diplomats have been given 48 hours to vacate.
  • UAE airlines Etihad Airways, Emirates, Air Arabia and FlyDubai, will suspend all flights to and from Doha, Qatar’s capital, from early tomorrow morning.
  • GCC allies have closed all airspace, sea ports and land contact with Qatar.

Kuwait and Oman are the only remaining GCC Member States that maintain a relationship with Qatar.

Qatar has called the decision ‘unjustified’, and concerns are spreading regarding food stability, as 40% of Qatar’s food is estimated to come from Saudi Arabia. However, Qatar has responded by banning all flights to Saudi Arabia, and refusing entry to Emiratis.

Please click here to view the official statement from the UAE on the matter. Newland Chase is closely monitoring the situation, and will provide updates as soon as further information becomes available.

If you require advice and information on how this may affect you or your employees, please contact your Newland Chase immigration specialist, or email us at [email protected].

UPDATE 09/06/17:

Since this article was published, the Maldives, Mauritius, Mauritania, Comoros, Djibouti and Senegal have all cut or downgraded their ties with Qatar, while the Philippines announced that it has stopped sending migrant workers to Qatar.

Please note that the situation is fluid and further changes are likely. It is not clear for how long the below restrictions will remain in place.