Three GCC countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar

Three GCC member states have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain have all severed relations with Qatar amid allegations that the country is destabilising the Middle East through its support for terrorist organisations.

Egypt, which is not a member of the GCC, has also ended diplomatic relations with Qatar.

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While the exact extent to which the Gulf’s construction sector will be affected remains unclear, initial travel and customs restrictions are likely to cause logistical challenges for companies whose GCC-wide footprints include Qatar, ConstructionWeekOnline reports.

Saudi Arabia has closed all of its borders with Qatar, cutting off land, sea, and air contact.

Bahrain has given Qatari nationals two weeks – and Qatari diplomats 48 hours – to leave its territories. It will also prohibit its citizens from visiting or residing in Qatar following the deadline.

The UAE has also severed diplomatic relations with Qatar. According to the Emirates’ national news agency, WAM, the country will take three main actions.

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Firstly, the UAE has “severed relations”, giving Qatari diplomats 48 hours to leave its territories.

Secondly, Qatari nationals will be prevented from entering the UAE. Qatari residents have been given 14 days to leave the Emirates due to “security and precautionary reasons”. The UAE will also prohibit Emirati citizens from travelling to, staying in, or passing through Qatar.

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Thirdly, the UAE will close all sea port and airport links with Qatar within 24 hours, and prevent Qatari vehicles from entering and leaving the Emirates. The statement added that the country would “take legal measures, and [use] understanding with friendly countries and international companies regarding their transit in UAE airspace and waters to and from Qatar, for reasons related to UAE national security”.

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The diplomatic breakdown is likely to result in logistical challenges for construction companies with pan-GCC operations. Furthermore, it still not clear how this would affect tourism to Qatar from the GCC.

As Hotelier Middle East states, the official stats indicate that there was a 47. 2% increase in number of visitors from GCC countries. As many as 144, 814 people from GCC countries visited Qatar in April 2017 while 98, 401 visitors had come to Qatar in April 2016, which is a 47.2% increase on YoY basis.

Etihad Airways has confirmed it will suspend all Doha flights from tomorrow morning (June 6).

Qatar is yet to issue an official statement on the matter.

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