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As Tensions Remain High, No End in Sight Seen for Qatari Crisis

  • Edward Yeranian

A view shows Abu Samra border crossing to Saudi Arabia, in Qatar, June 12, 2017.

Gulf nation sanctions against Qatar are wreaking havoc to its economy. Kuwait's Emir Sabah Ahmed al-Sabah, who is mediating between both sides, insists that Qatar is "ready to act on the concerns of its neighbors," but there appears to be no quick end to the crisis in sight.

Behind-the-scenes efforts to mediate between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors continued Monday as liquid natural gas shipments, Qatar's chief export, were disrupted by the sea-blockade imposed by a number of Gulf countries and their allies, including Egypt.

FILE - A membrane-type liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker is moored at a thermal power station in Futtsu, east of Tokyo, Feb. 8, 2017.
FILE - A membrane-type liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker is moored at a thermal power station in Futtsu, east of Tokyo, Feb. 8, 2017.

Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdel Rahman al-Thani traveled to Europe to meet with his British and French counterparts Monday, insisting that the "blockade" imposed on his country was unfair and that Qatar was ready for "dialogue" with its Gulf Cooperation Council neighbors.

He says that Qatar's main preoccupation is the "lifting" of what he called an "illegal" embargo against it, both by land and by sea, as well as to ease the humanitarian crisis that has arisen because of it.

The United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash insisted in a tweet, however, that the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait had imposed "sanctions" on Qatar, and not a "blockade." Gargash noted that sanctions have been imposed on Doha for supporting terrorist groups. Qatar denies the accusations.

Arab media, however, continued to broadcast the names of terrorist suspects living in Qatar, along with accusations by Egypt, Bahrain, Libya's parliament in Tobruk, Tunisia and Algeria of sponsoring terrorist groups. Egypt issued a list of "terrorist" suspects living in Qatar, including exiled Egyptian Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi, who has issued fatwas calling for the killings of Egyptian military personnel and police.

FILE - Shiekh Youssef al-Qaradawi, gives a sermon during Friday prayers at al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, Egypt.
FILE - Shiekh Youssef al-Qaradawi, gives a sermon during Friday prayers at al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, Egypt.

Arab media reported that the Egyptian government had presented Interpol with a list of 50 alleged terrorists living in Qatar.

Arab media showed video of what it claimed were currency exchange shops in Qatar that had run out of dollars and other foreign currencies, amid the unprecedented demand by Qatari citizens and foreign residents to sell Qatari riyals. Sanctions by Qatar's GCC neighbors and their allies have caused the riyal to lose value and many Arab banks have stopped dealing with Qatar's national currency.

Qatar's Finance minister Ali Sherif al-Emadi speaks during a briefing on the financial outlook for Qatar, in Doha, Qatar, February 7, 2017.
Qatar's Finance minister Ali Sherif al-Emadi speaks during a briefing on the financial outlook for Qatar, in Doha, Qatar, February 7, 2017.

Qatari Finance Minister Ali Shareef al-Emadi, however, downplayed the effects of Gulf sanctions in an interview with CNBC, insisting that Qatar has a "large and well-diversified economy," able to resist sanctions, while going on to argue that "if we lose a dollar, they will lose a dollar, also."

FILE - Food items are seen in a supermarket in Doha, Qatar, June 7, 2017.
FILE - Food items are seen in a supermarket in Doha, Qatar, June 7, 2017.

Both Turkey and Iran have sent planes and ships loaded with foodstuffs and other staples to Qatar in a show of solidarity with Doha. The Sultanate of Oman, which has not cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, has also begun to transport goods to Qatar via its own ports of Sohar and Salalah.

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