Qatar’s state news agency said Saturday that authorities will allow nationals of countries that have cut ties with Qatar to remain in the country. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates set up hotlines for some families that may be affected by the dispute. Kuwait and other countries tried to mediate, but the number of countries to cut ties with Qatar continued to grow over the weekend.

According to available public statements and international media reports:

  • Qatar’s state news agency, QNA, reported Saturday that nationals of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries that have cut ties with Qatar will be allowed to remain in the country pursuant to existing regulations. Qatari nationals were told last week to leave Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates within 14 days, but for now, Qatar has declined to reciprocate in kind.
  • While Qatari nationals have been told to leave Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, official news outlets in each of the countries set up hotlines for families with Qatari members. The move signals an intention to reduce the humanitarian impact of the actions against Qatar. Those in need of assistance with case-specific questions should contact BAL.
  • Kuwait continued its efforts to mediate the diplomatic crisis, and while there are few signs of tensions easing, Morocco announced Sunday that, like Kuwait and Oman, it would stay neutral and offer to help resolve the crisis if the parties would like.
  • The number of countries to cut ties with Qatar continued to grow. Niger said it would recall its ambassador Saturday. Countries that have either cut or downgraded diplomatic ties with Qatar include: Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Niger, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Background: As BAL reported last week, the Gulf countries leading this initiative accuse Qatar of supporting terrorist groups including al-Qaida and ISIS. Qatar’s Foreign Ministry called the accusations “baseless” and said the blockade had “no legitimate justification.” Qatar has maintained a rocky relationship with its GCC co-members for almost two decades, but the rift has widened in recent months over several issues. Qatar criticized the anti-Iran rhetoric following U.S. President Donald Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia; soon after, the UAE and other GCC countries cut access to media from Doha-based Al Jazeera.

BAL Analysis: The Qatari diplomatic crisis continues to evolve and may change quickly. BAL is following developments and will alert clients to any additional changes or restrictions. Those planning travel to or from the countries involved in the crisis may wish to check with their airline in advance.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney. Copyright © 2017 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP.

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