Fifa "in contact" with Qatar over 2022 World Cup
- Author: Zachary Reyes Jun 06, 2017,
Jun 06, 2017, 0:17
The countries have broken land, sea and air contacts with Qatar, a move seen as a significant split between powerful Gulf countries that are also USA allies.
Etihad, Emirates, Fly Dubai and Gulf Air said Monday they would halt all flights in and out of Doha, the Qatari capital, starting Tuesday morning. It also banned all Saudi carriers from flying to Doha.
Qatar Airways said in a brief statement on its website that it had "suspended all flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" until the early hours of June 6. The UAE advised Qataris in the country to leave with 14 days; Saudi Arabia, which shares a land border with Qatar, closed its ports, roads and airports to Qatari traffic.
"Airspace will be impacted by flights being re-routed, especially for Qatar Airways who will no longer be allowed to use the expansive airspace of Saudi Arabia on flights to Europe and North America", he said.
Qatar Airways faces disaster as the owner, the Qatari Government has been labeled a terrorist by it's neighboring Arab countries.
In turn, Doha, called the decision a violation of the sovereignty of Qatar and stated that it has no legal grounds.
Qatar is also home to the sprawling al-Udeid Air Base, which is home to the U.S. military's Central Command and some 10,000 American troops. Saudi Arabia said Qatari troops in the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen would be recalled home.
The unprecedented move is seen as a major split between powerful Gulf countries, who are also close United States allies. Bahrain's Gulf Air and Saudia joined them. Qatar shares a massive offshore gas field with the Islamic Republic. Central Command officials and the Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar are all members of the GCC.
A spokesperson for FIFA said world football's governing body " is in regular contact" with the tournament's organising committee but declined to comment any further.