Gulf diplomatic crisis: Qatar bans its citizens, residents from leaving the country

The Qatar government banned its citizens and residents from leaving the country, as the extended deadline to meet a list of demands set by several West Asians nations draws close, media reports said.

Qatar had earlier responded to the deadline with defiance, calling the demands "unrealistic and is not actionable".

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani. Reuters

Qatar's foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani. Reuters

The ban on its citizens moving out of Qatar was announced on Monday along with other drastic measures undertaken by the government to face the deteriorating economic and social situation in the country, Khaleej Times reported.

All leaves prior to the Eid holidays had also been cancelled for residents, especially for those working in the public sector, including hospitals, according to the report. The ban has later been extended to cover several other sectors.

According to Khaleej Times, a Qatari official said some leaves had been cancelled in "essential government sectors" to keep staff on hand as authorities made plans to cope with the crisis.

Qatar expects harsh measures by the Arab nations if they are not satisfied by its response to a list of demands made nearly two weeks ago. The demands included Doha ending support for the Muslim Brotherhood, closing broadcaster Al Jazeera, downgrading diplomatic ties with Iran and shutting down a Turkish military base in the emirate.

Saudi Arabia and its allies announced on 5 June they were severing ties with their Gulf neighbour, sparking the worst diplomatic crisis to hit the region in decades.

They accused Qatar of supporting extremism and of being too close to Saudi Arabia's regional arch-rival Iran, which Doha has strongly denied. "It's not about terrorism, it's talking about shutting down the freedom of speech," Qatar's foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani had said.

The crisis has raised concerns about growing instability in the region, home to some of the world's largest energy exporters and several key Western allies who host United States military bases.

With inputs from agencies


Updated Date: Jul 06, 2017 13:14 PM

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