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GCC Crisis Updates: Week 14 — new ports open, one more country granted visa-free entry

Here are the latest updates in the GCC crisis since last week

August 31

The Foreign Minister of Qatar, His Excellency, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said that Qatar does not interfere in the politics of other countries and does not accept others interfering in its politics either. 

September 1 

The Foreign Minister of Qatar met with his Belgian counterpart last Friday. They discussed bilateral relations and HE the FM of Qatar briefed the Belgian Foreign Minister on the Gulf crisis and Qatar’s efforts to combat terrorism.

Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal reportedly said that Qatar could end the standoff with the Saudi-led group by agreeing to stop interfering in internal matters of neighboring countries. The former head of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency reportedly told Bloomberg TV that “the ball is in Qatar’s court.” 

September 4

Qatar Ports Management Company, Mwani launched a number of direct shipping lines between Qatar’s Hamad Port and several ports in the region. New routes connect Qatar to ports in Oman, Pakistan, Turkey and India. 

The Emir of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani opened the new Hamad Port. The port is said to have an annual capacity of 7.5 million shipping containers. 

September 5

A Saudi record label released a song sung by famous Arab singers, criticizing Qatar and its policies. The song has since received a sea of responses on social media. 

The new land route from Turkey through Bushehr Port in Iran and then via sea to Qatar is helping transport several goods coming from Turkey. A prominent Qatari businessman reportedly said that 200 trucks carrying foodstuff have already arrived in Qatar and have immensely helped reduce costs.

A former French ambassador to Qatar and Saudi Arabia has been appointed as an envoy to mediate the Gulf crisis.

The Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia said that Iran’s talk of possible reconciliation with Saudi was “laughable” and that Iran would have to change its policies for any rapprochement. 

September 6 

The fastest direct port service between Karachi and Doha is set to be launched this week. The first vessel is due to arrive at the new Hamad Port on September 11 after a transit time of four days as opposed to the usual six to seven days. 

Morocco has been announced as the latest country whose nationals will be granted visa-free entry into Qatar. This comes after the government released a list of countries whose citizens will be allowed to enter Qatar without visas. 

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