Kuwait seeks to mediate Arab crisis over Qatar

Pakistani pilgrims who were travelling to Saudi Arabia for Umrah via Qatar were stranded in Doha after several countries including Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar that is home to a major United States military base, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups and backing Iran.

With oil production of about 620,000 barrels per day (bpd), Qatar's crude output ranks as one of the smallest among the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), but tension within the cartel could weaken an agreement to hold back production in order to prop up prices. Yemen, Libya and the Maldives have joined in the action.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday and ordered their land, sea and airports closed to Qatari aircraft and vessels.

The newspaper said it was told by commanders of militant groups and government officials in the region that Doha spent the money in a transaction that secured the release of 26 members of a Qatari falconry party in southern Iraq, some of whom were members of Qatar's royal family. State-linked media in the region ignored Qatar's denial and continued to report the comments.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV that Qatar wants to give Kuwait's ruler the ability to "proceed and communicate with the parties to the crisis and to try to contain the issue".

Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah then made a call to Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and "urged him for restraint and not to take any measure that could escalate" the situation. "Flights to Europe will most likely be rerouted through Iran and Turkey".

Airlines affected will include Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates. Qatar's Foreign Ministry called the accusations "baseless" and said they were part of a plan to "impose guardianship on the state, which in itself is a violation of sovereignty". More than 1 million Filipinos reside and work in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain.

Monday's decision forbids Saudi, UAE and Bahraini citizens from travelling to Qatar, residing in it or passing through it. Residents and visitors of those countries must leave Qatar within 14 days.

  • Zachary Reyes