The Saudi-led bloc - which includes the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt - currently engaged in an ongoing diplomatic dispute with Qatar has announced it has received Qatar's official response to their demands. The response was delivered on Monday, July 3, through Kuwait, which is serving as mediator in this dispute. The bloc's foreign ministers will meet on Wednesday, July 5, in Cairo to discuss the situation and appropriate actions.
The Saudi-led bloc of Arab states accuses Qatar of supporting terrorism and has been blockading the country since June 28. A 13-point list of demands announced on June 23 includes closing the Al Jazeera media network, closing the Turkish military base in Qatar, curtailing ties with Iran, and severing all alleged ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah. The Saudi-led bloc maintains that the demands are non-negotiable and has threatened economic sanctions, while Doha has publicly responded that the demands are baseless.
As diplomatic tensions spiked, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and Egypt announced bans on all air, sea, and land travel to and from Qatar in a series of coordinated statements in early June. Emirates, Etihad, Air Arabia, and FlyDubai airlines all announced the indefinite suspension of flights to Qatar starting June 6. The three Gulf states and Egypt gave Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave their territories. Several prominent Gulf and Egyptian businessmen have urged investors to withdraw from Qatar, and the price of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), of which Qatar is a major supplier, has fallen sharply. Qatar was also expelled from the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.
Gulf Arab states, Egypt, and Jordan have long resented Qatar's alleged support for groups such as the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic State (IS), among others. Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused the country of broadcasting militant ideology, a reference to the Al Jazeera media outlet. Qatar allegedly used Al Jazeera to promote the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, a move that threatened many of the Gulf monarchies and fueled the overthrow of the then-Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak.
Qatar has also been heavily criticized for forging a relationship with Iran, considered by many Arab countries as a dangerous enemy.
Individuals in the region are advised to monitor the situation and contact their respective diplomatic missions for further information regarding security and transit to and from Qatar.
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