Monday, June 12, 2017

Qatar-Gulf crisis: All the latest updates

News Qatar

The latest news after Arab Gulf countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and suspended Doha-bound flights.


  • Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, eastern government of Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, and Senegal cut diplomatic ties with Qatar
  • Jordan and Djibouti downgrade diplomatic relations with Qatar
  • US: No change planned for military base
  • Qatari aviation, exports, banks affected

The latest developments since four Arab countries cut ties with Qatar on June 5. (All times local.)
To jump to the first update on Monday morning, click here

8:00 am: Pakistan PM heads to Saudi Arabia

  • Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is travelling to Riyadh on Monday in context of the "situation among GCC countries", his office announced.
  • On Thursday, Pakistan's lower house of parliament expressed "deep concern", calling on all parties "to show restraint and resolve all differences through dialogue".
  • On Sunday, Pakistan's Foreign Office denied reports that Pakistani troops had been deployed to Qatar to support a Turkish troop contingent as "part of a malicious campaign aimed at creating misunderstanding between Pakistan and brotherly Muslim countries in the Gulf".

5:30am: Qatari human rights organisation denounces blockade

  • Qatar's National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) says the moves against the country by Arab countries constitute human rights violations.
  • "The NHRC adds that the siege of Qatar constitutes international human rights crimes and is not only a gross violation of the rights of Gulf citizens [both Qatari and non-Qatari], but also the rights of expat residents in the state of Qatar."

03:00am Monday: Qatar denounces Gulf states' 'policy of domination'

  • A senior counter-terrorism adviser to Qatar's foreign minister has hit out at the diplomatic squeeze on Doha by several Gulf states, calling it a "policy of domination and control".
  • Mutlaq al-Qahtani, a special envoy to Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, said the decision to sever ties by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt - as well as other allies - over Qatar's alleged funding of armed groups would not prove successful. 

11:50pm: Qatar inaugurates direct maritime service between Hamad Port and Oman's Sohar Port

  • Qatar Ports Management has launched a new direct service linking Hamad port in the Qatari capital with Sohar Port in the Sultanate of Oman.
  • At a press conference held at Hamad Port, Qatar Ports Management said: "In light of the recent developments in the region, Mwani Qatar (Qatar Ports Management) and its partners have ensured the business continuity of its ports and shipping operations in and out of Qatar to mitigate the impact of any action that would affect the imports and exports to and from the country."
  • The service will operate three times a week and journey's will take up to one and a half days.

10:20pm: FIFA President says Qatar World Cup is not under threat

  • FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said he does not believe the diplomatic crisis which involves 2022 World Cup host nation Qatar will threaten its hosting of the tournament.
  • In an interview published in Swiss newspapers Le Matin Dimanche and Sonntagszeitung, Infantino said he expects the diplomatic situation will be back to normal by the time the tournament is played in five and a half years time.
  • Infantino said that FIFA was watching the situation and was in regular contact with the Qatari authorities.

9:55pm: Qatar allows residents from boycotting states to stay

  • Nationals of countries that cut diplomatic ties with Qatar this week are free to remain in the Gulf state.
  • There is no change in policy towards the nationals of "brotherly and friendly countries which cut or reduced diplomatic relations following the malicious and hostile campaigns against Qatar," Qatar's state news agency (QNA) reports.

8:35pm: Iran sends warships to Oman amid Gulf dispute

  • Iran is sending two warships to Oman before they start their mission in international waters near the coast of Yemen, the country's navy says.
  • The two ships, an Alborz destroyer and a Bushehr logistics warship, will go to the north of the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden.
  • The Gulf of Aden is a strategic shipping lane which connects the Indian ocean with the Red Sea and Suez Canal.

8:20pm: Iraq: Qatari 'ransom' money with us, not armed groups

  • Iraq's prime minister has rejected Saudi and UAE media claims that a $500m ransom was paid by Qatar to Shia Muslim armed groups in Iraq to secure the release of 26 kidnapped Qatari hunters.
  • Haider al-Abadi said the money was received by the Iraqi government and that the sum was still in the Iraqi central bank. 
  • He added that the money was "never cashed out."

7:45pm: Qatar's NHRC: Hotline for mixed-families a face-saving act 

  • Qatar's National Human Rights Committee has called a Saudi, UAE and Bahrain initiative to assist mixed-citizenship families who face the prospect of being split up, a "face-saving" exercise.
  • It said a hotline set up by the three countries to assist mixed Qatari families who faced the prospect of deportation and expulsion was "too vague to have any practical impact" and was "void of a mechanism to be of assistance to those affected."
  • It called for an end to the blockade on Qatar and urged the countries to abide by international human rights treaties.

4:55pm: US and Russia call for dialogue over Qatar-GCC dispute

  • US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov call for dialogue over Qatar-GCC dispute.
  • Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the two leaders spoke on the phone and "discussed the consequences of the decision by a number of Arab countries to break diplomatic ties with Qatar."
  • It noted that "Sergey Lavrov and Rex Tillerson pointed to the need of resolving disagreements through negotiations and expressed their willingness to contribute to such efforts."

4:35pm: Qatar hosted Taliban 'at request of US government'

  • Qatar hosted the Taliban at the request of the US government, the special envoy on counterterrorism for Qatar's foreign minister told Al Jazeera.
  • Mutlaw Al Qahtani said the Gulf country hosted the Taliban "by request by the US government" and as part of Qatar's "open-door policy, to facilitate talks, to mediate and to bring peace".
  • He added that Qatar "was facilitating the talks between the Americans, the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan".
  • The Taliban opened its "political office" in Qatar in 2013.

3:13pm: Inside Story - Blockade on Qatar 'toying' with people's lives

  • Human rights group Amnesty International has condemned the blockade taken by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain against Qatar, saying the countries are toying with the lives of thousands of Gulf residents as part of their dispute with Qatar.
  • On Monday, the three Gulf countries ordered Qatari nationals to leave their countries within 14 days.
  • Their citizens were also given the same time to leave Qatar. As a result, hundreds of mixed-families are facing the grim prospect of being separated from their loved ones.
  • The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has urged Saudi Arabia and its allies to ease their blockade on Qatar, saying it is causing unintended humanitarian consequences.
  • So, how can human rights be protected in the political crisis? Watch Inside Story here.

2:55pm - Kuwait: Qatar ready to heal Gulf rift

  • Kuwait on Sunday said that Qatar is willing to hold a dialogue with Gulf Arab countries that cut ties with it and was ready to listen to their concerns, in the latest twist of a major diplomatic rift.
  • "(Kuwait) affirms the readiness of the brothers in Qatar to understand the reality of the qualms and concerns of their brothers and to heed the noble endeavours to enhance security and stability," Kuwait's state-run KUNA news agency quoted Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah as saying on Sunday.

12:25pm - Ethiopia support Kuwait's mediation initiative

  • Ethiopia said it backs Kuwait's mediation efforts to end the Qatar-Gulf diplomatic dispute, adding it will play a constructive role for a peaceful resolution of the crisis.
  • In a statement carried by state media on Saturday, Ethiopia's foreign ministry said it did not support any kind of negative media reports that incite instability in countries.
  • The ministry also said it will continue working together with countries to fight against the "global threat of terrorism".
  • Kuwait and Oman, also members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, did not join Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in severing ties with Qatar. In recent days, Kuwait's emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, has held talks with Gulf leaders as part of an initiative to resolve the crisis.

11:45am - Qatar's charity body denies 'terrorism' allegations

The official overseer of Qatar's charities rejected allegations that charitable groups in the country supported "terrorism" following the release of a blacklist by four Arab countries.
"The Regulatory Authority for Charitable Activities (RACA) deplores the accusation that Qatari humanitarian organisations support terrorism," the body said in an official statement on Sunday.
RACA has succeeded in protecting NGOs based in Doha "from the risk of being exploited to launder money and finance terrorism", it said, adding that it is prepared to take legal action against the Arab states to protect the humanitarian work its charities do.

10:21am - Iran Air says five planes of food have arrived to Qatar

  • Iran's national carrier says that five planes of food exports, including fruit and vegetables, have been sent to Qatar, which has been hit by a land, air and sea blockade imposed by three Arab Gulf countries.
  • Each aircraft carried around 90 tonnes of cargo, "while another plane will be sent today," Iran Air spokesman Shahrokh Noushabadi told the AFP news agency on Sunday.
  • Three ships loaded with 350 tonnes of food were also set to leave an Iranian port for Qatar, the Tasnim news agency quoted a local official as saying.
  • Food imports were affected after Saudi Arabia ordered the closure of Qatar's only land border.
  • Qatar, which relies heavily on food imports, assured residents it has taken measures to ensure that normal life continues.

8:49am - Gulf countries announce hotline for mixed Qatari families

  • Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which have cut ties with Qatar, announced via state media on Sunday the creation of hotlines to help families with Qatari members.
  • The statements carried by their official news agencies did not specify what services the hotline would provide.
  • The moves against Qatar include a land, air and sea blockade, as well as a ban on Qatari citizens from entering the three countries. Qatari nationals were also ordered to leave within 14 days, leaving hundreds of mixed-citizenship Qatari couples with the grim prospect of being split from their families.
  • Amnesty International criticised the measures as sweeping and arbitrary and said they had split up families and destroyed peoples' livelihoods and education. Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee has also said that the Saudi-led move went far beyond a simple diplomatic dispute and will break up families and disrupt young people’s education.

7:37am - Turkish PM warns of global consequences

  • Binali Yildirim, Turkey's prime minister, said on Saturday the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf could turn into a global problem if tensions flare.
  • "A new problem area that may be created here [in Qatar] would not be limited inside the region," Yildirim told a fast-breaking dinner in Istanbul.
  • "The risk of this issue becoming a global problem is very high due to the geostrategic nature of the region. We call on the parties in the tension to act responsibly and contribute to reducing the tension rather than increasing it".
  • Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has previously requested the full removal of a Saudi-led blockade of Qatar and has approved the deployment of Turkish troops there.

7:25am - Qatar to hire international law firm to seek reparations for those hit from blockade

  • Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) is working to hire an international law firm to handle cases related to Qatari and Gulf Cooperation Council citizens who sought legal help after being affected by the blockade and embargo imposed on Qatar.
  • Ali bin Sumaikh Al Marri, NHRC chairman, said the law firm will sue and request damages from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain at national courts, Qatar News Agency reported.

2:17am - Reported blocking of Qatari pilgrim at the Holy Mosque condemnded

  • The Al Sharq newspaper reported Qatar's National Commission for Human Rights (NHRC) received a complaint from a Qatari citizen that Qatari pilgrims were barred from entering the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca.
  • Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri, the NHRC head, called the reported incident a flagrant violation of the right to practise religious rites as permitted by human rights conventions.

1:40am - Qatar will not expel nationals from countries that cut ties

  • Nationals of countries that cut diplomatic ties with Qatar this week are free to remain in the Gulf state in line with existing regulations, according to a statement carried by Qatar state news agency.
  • The statement, attributed to the Ministry of Interior, said there was no change in policy toward the nationals of "brotherly and friendly countries which cut or reduced diplomatic relations following the malicious and hostile campaigns against Qatar".

1:10am - Qatari Foreign Minister: Hamas is a legitimate resistance group

  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, foreign minister of Qatar, has said Hamas is a "legitimate resistance movement" and "not a terrorist organisation as viewed by the US".
  • "We do not support Hamas, we support the Palestinian people," he said.

12:48am - Sunday, June 11 - Hamas: Arab differences are internal affairs

  • Musa Abu Marzouk, senior Hamas leader, commenting on the Gulf diplomatic crisis, has said that "Arab differences are internal affairs".
  • "The Hamas focus will remain directed towards Palestine and Jerusalem, and towards national unity and the cohesion of the Palestinian people," Marzouk, a member of Hamas' political bureau, told a press conference in Beirut after meeting with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.
  • Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain on Monday cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar accusing Doha of supporting "terrorists" - a charge Qatar denies.
  • "It is supposed that no one should differ over supporting the Palestinian cause," he said, adding that "our weapons will remain directed solely at the Zionist enemy [Israel] which we will continue to resist".

6.59pm - Russia calls for dialogue to solve Gulf dispute

  • Russia called Saturday for dialogue to resolve the dispute between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours.
  • "We cannot be happy in a situation when the relations between our partners are worsening," Lavrov said.
  • "We are in favour of resolving any disagreements through ... dialogue."
  • Russia is "ready to try to do everything in its power" to help resolve the crisis.

6:24pm - German FM warns Gulf crisis could lead to war

  • The dispute between Qatar and other Arab states could lead to war, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told a newspaper on Saturday, adding that he still saw a chance to defuse the tension.
  • "There is a danger that this dispute could lead to war," Gabriel told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, citing what he called a "dramatic" harshness in relations between allied and neighbouring countries in the Gulf.
  • The minister said personal talks this week with his counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, and phone calls with the foreign ministers of Iran and Kuwait underscored his concerns.
  • "After my talks this week, I know how serious the situation is, but I believe there are also good chances to make progress."

4:13pm - Turkey: Qatar military base for the security of entire Gulf region

  • Turkey's military base in Qatar is aimed at contributing to the security of the entire Gulf region and not aimed at a specific Gulf state, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Saturday.
  • In a joint news conference with Bahrain's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Al Khalifa, Cavusoglu said Turkey would continue its efforts to resolve the Gulf dispute.
  • Cavusoglu also said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the Bahraini foreign minister that the dispute between Qatar and other Arab states should be resolved by the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

3:30pm - Qatar Petroleum says business as usual despite diplomatic rift

  • Qatar Petroleum (QP) said on Saturday that it was conducting "business as usual" throughout its upstream, midstream and downstream operations, despite rising diplomatic tensions with its Gulf neighbours.
  • QP was prepared to take any "necessary decisions and measures, should the need arise, to ensure that it honored commitments to customers and partners", the statement said.
  • Qatar is the world's biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) producer and accounts for more than 30 percent of global trade.

3:22pm - Egypt's Sisi praises Trump's stance on Qatar

  • Egypt President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has praised US President Donald Trump for his role in "the formation of a united front to combat terrorism".
  • Sisi’s praise-filled phone call Saturday came after Trump echoed accusations made against Qatar by a Saudi-led group that cut diplomatic ties with Qatar earlier this week.
  • Sisi thanked Trump for his participation in a counterterrorism summit in Riyadh last May, in which he vowed to “fight terrorism in partnership with Middle East leaders”.

2:17pm - Niger recalls ambassador to Doha

  • Niger announced it had recalled its ambassador to Qatar following the latest developments in the Gulf.
  • The foreign ministry issued a statement expressing "its solidarity" with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their allies, which on Monday severed diplomatic with Doha, accusing it of supporting "extremists" - a charge strongly denied by Qatar.

1:05pm - Qatari FM in Moscow for talks with Russian counterpart

  • After holding talks in Germany on Friday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Qatar's foreign minister, met with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow.
  • The two diplomats are not expected to hold a press conference after the talks, but spoke briefly in front of cameras at the start of their meeting.
  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said only dialogue will resolve the dispute, adding that "the Gulf Cooperation Council is the right platform to achieve this".
  • For his part, Lavrov also called for talks to end the crisis. "We call for all contradictions to be resolved at the negotiation table through a mutually respectful dialogue," the Russian foreign minister said, adding that Arab states should unite to effectively fight "terrorism".
  • "As a matter of policy we do not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries or their bilateral relations with each other. But it does not give us joy when relations between our partners deteriorate," Lavrov said.
  • "The position of Russia and the moment seems to be 'yes, we'll listen to you but we don't want to take sides,'" Al Jazeera's Rory Challands, reporting from Moscow.

11:33am - Saudi Arabia welcomes Trump's remarks, does not respond to Tillerson call

  • With the US administration sending mixed signals in regards to its stance to the crisis, Saudi Arabia, via a statement on its state media, welcomed US President Donald Trump's call on Qatar and other countries to increase their efforts against "terrorism", but did not respond to a state department request to ease pressure on its neighbour.
  • Just minutes before Trump's speech on Friday, Rex Tillerson, the US secretary of state, had urged Saudi Arabia and its allies to ease their blockade on Qatar, saying it is causing unintended humanitarian consequences and affecting the US-led fight against ISIL.
  • Tillerson also said that Qatar has a history of supporting groups across a wide political spectrum, including those that engage in violence, and that the emir of Qatar had made progress in halting financial support for "terrorism" but that he must do more.
  • A separate report on Saudi's state-run news agency SPA acknowledged Tillerson's call for Qatar to curtail support for "terrorism", but did not mention his remarks that the crisis was hurting ordinary Qataris, impairing business activities and harming the fight against ISIL.

10:50am - Qatar row 'no impact' on global oil pact

  • Khalid al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's energy minister, said the decision by the kingdom and some of its allies to severe ties with Qatar this week would not affect a pact by global oil producers to reduce output.
  • "I don't expect the diplomatic and political issues that have surfaced with Qatar to have any impact whatsoever on the oil production agreement," Falih told reporters in Kazakhstan.

6:58am - Merkel calls for regional cooperation

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her concern about the situation in Qatar, saying that all Gulf countries, and also Iran and Turkey, should work together to end the regional crisis.
  • "We have to see that the political solution of conflicts ... such as the situation in Syria, such as the situation in Libya or the situation in Iraq, won't happen if certain players are no longer even included in the conversation, and that includes Qatar, it includes Turkey, it includes Iran," said Merkel, speaking alongside Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto during a visit to Mexico City.
  • Merkel said she wanted the balance of power to be maintained "sensibly" in the region, and that security would be on the agenda when G20 leaders meet next month in the German city of Hamburg.

4:20am - Saturday, June 10 - Eritrea rejects severing Qatar ties

  • Eritrea declined a request by Saudi Arabia and the UAE to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.
  • The African nation’s foreign ministry said in a statement it "rejected" the demand to cut ties "with brother Doha".
  • It said Eritrea had "strong ties with the brother people of Qatar", and it was "impossible to cut ties".

11:30pm - Erdogan says Turkey won't leave Qatar isolated

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reaffirmed his backing for Qatar in its dispute with other Gulf nations, saying Turkey would never leave the country isolated.
  • Delivering a speech at a Ramadan fast-breaking dinner in Istanbul, Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey would provide food and medicine to help Qatar ease its isolation despite the other nations "displeasure".
  • He called on Saudi Arabia and other countries of the region to end their sanctions, rejecting accusations by these countries that Qatar supports "terror groups".
  • Referring to a statement by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling on the Arab nations to immediately ease their blockade of Qatar, Erdogan said: "I say let's lift it entirely".
  • On Wednesday, Turkey's parliament passed legislation permitting the deployment of troops to a Turkish military base in Qatar.

11:15pm - Amnesty condemns actions taken against Qatar

  • Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE are toying with the lives of thousands of Gulf residents as part of their dispute with Qatar, splitting up families and destroying peoples’ livelihoods and education, Amnesty International said on Friday.
  • The organisation's researchers have interviewed dozens of people whose human rights have been affected by a series of sweeping measures imposed in an arbitrary manner by the three Gulf countries in their dispute with Qatar.
  • "These drastic measures are already having a brutal effect, splitting children from parents and husbands from wives. People from across the region - not only from Qatar, but also from the states implementing these measures - risk losing jobs and having their education disrupted. All the states involved in this dispute must ensure their actions do not lead to human rights violations," said James Lynch, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Global Issues Programme, who was in Doha last week.  
Read the full statement here 

10:45pm - Rights committee present reports on effects of the blockade

  • Qatar's National Human Rights Committee presented 300 international and regional organizations with detailed reports that reveal the humanitarian conditions of the citizens of GCC countries as a result of the blockade in Qatar.

10:00pm - Trump accuses Qatar of 'funding terrorism

  • US President Donald Trump accuses Qatar of "funding terrorism" at "very high level" when speaking at the White House on Friday, where he was holding a joint news conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. 
Read the full story here 

9:40 - Blockade 'hindering' planning for long-term operation - Pentagon

  • A blockade against Qatar by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states was not affecting current operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group, but was "hindering" the ability to plan for long-term operations, the Pentagon said on Friday.
  • "While current operations from Al Udeid Air Base have not been interrupted or curtailed, the evolving situation is hindering our ability to plan for longer-term military operations," Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.
  • Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar is home to more than 11,000 US and coalition forces and an important base for the fight against ISIL. He did not explain how exactly it was affecting planning for longer-term operations.
  • Davis said Qatar remained critical for air operations against ISIL.

9:30 - Trump, Egypt's Sisi discuss Arab unity, fighting terrorism

  • US President Donald Trump spoke on Friday with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and emphasised the importance of maintaining unity among Arab countries, the White House said in a statement.
  • It was the fourth call Trump has had with a regional leader since Gulf allies severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday.

8:40pm - US secretary of state makes statement on Gulf diplomatic crisis

  • Rex Tillerson calls on Saudi Arabia, Egypt and UAE to ease the blockade against Qatar. 
  • Tillerson says US urges no further escalation in Gulf crisis with Qatar.
  • Tillerson: Blockade hindering US military action against ISIL.
  • US expectation is that Gulf countries would immediately take steps to de-escalate situation in region - Tillerson
  • Read the full story here

4:30 - UN's response to the 'terror list'

  • The United Nations (UN) said it is bound only by the list of sanctions adopted by the organs of the United Nations and the Security Council.
  • This came in UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric response to a question about the list, made by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Bahrain, of so the called "terrorist organizations and entities" featuring the name of Qatar Charity.
  • Dujarric said that the UN has signed significant work with Qatar Charity in Yemen , Iraq and Syria and said that they are coordinating the aid work together.
  • The spokesman said that in principle, the UN relies solely on the list of sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council, and the UN is not obliged to take into account any lists other than that.
Read the full story here 

4:20pm - UAE Central Bank asks banks to adopt 'terror list'

  • UAE banks and other financial institutions have been instructed to search for and freeze any accounts or deposits or investments held by individuals or entities that are in the "terror list" issued by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt late on Thursday.
  • In another circular, the Central Bank advised banks and other financial institutions operating in the UAE to apply enhanced customer due diligence for any accounts they hold belonging to six Qatari banks.
  • A bank press statement said the two circulars were issued based upon a UAE cabinet resolution designating 59 individuals and 12 entities as "terrorists or terrorist organisations".

2:15pm - Saudi Arabia bans Al Jazeera channels in hotels

  • The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage issued a circular in the early hours of Friday, ordering all "tourist facilities" to remove satellite channels that include religious, political or moral violations, including the Al Jazeera Media Network.
  • The circular read: "All tourist facilities must commit to choosing the appropriate TV channels in line with the official Saudi TV channels … and not to operate channels deviant to the Islamic religion or the state's policies, or morals."
  • It added: "The authority ensures the importance of removing all the 'Al Jazeera channels' from the list of available channels in rooms and other tourism accommodation facilities in order to prevent anyone who violates this circular from facing penalties, which could amount to 100,000 Saudi riyals ($26,600) or the revocation of their license, or both."

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