Qatar begins shipping cargo through Oman to bypass Gulf rift

Almost a week after Saudi Arabia and several of its allies severed ties with Qatar in an unprecedented Gulf diplomatic crisis, there were no signs of the bitter dispute being resolved.

Iran Air spokesman Shahrokh Noushabadi said: "So far five planes carrying vegetables have been sent to Qatar, each carrying around 90 tonnes of cargo, while another plane will be sent today".

Qatar's Central Bank said on Monday banking transactions at home and overseas were continuing normally despite the diplomatic crisis which has seen several Gulf countries sever ties with the emirate.

"We will continue deliveries as long as there is demand", Noushabadi added, without saying if the deliveries were commercial exports or aid.

Conde, who is president of Guinea which has close ties to Saudi Arabia, said in a letter to King Salman he had observed with "sadness" the feud between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours, which he described as "brother countries" of his Muslim-majority country.

Qatar has been accused by Saudi Arabia and the UAE of supporting terrorism, claims that the tiny state has rejected in the strongest terms.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash tweeted: "Is this the beginning of wisdom and reasonable thinking?"

Qatar's Interior Ministry said in a statement that nationals of countries that have recently severed diplomatic ties with Qatar are free to remain in the Gulf state in line with existing regulations.

On Friday Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt tightened their squeeze on Qatar by putting dozens of figures and charities they link to the country on terrorism blacklists. Iran also plans to send 100 tonnes of fresh fruit and legumes every day, CNN reported quoting the semi-official Tasnim news agency. Five Iranian planes full of food and other supplies flew into Qatar on Saturday.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said he backs the move against Qatar, although other U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, have sought to ease the tensions.

"Since Pakistan enjoys good relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran and Qatar, we will try our best to resolve the differences between the Arab countries", Nawaz Sharif had told journalists during a recent visit to Kazakhstan.

Washington has sent mixed signals on the crisis. Shiite nation Iran is an arch-rival of Sunni state Saudi Arabia, which is leading the blockade against Qatar.

  • Zachary Reyes