Saudi Arabia says airspace ban for Qatar flights was to protect citizens

Reuters

Doha denied allegations over its support to terrorism and extremism adding that the diplomatic rift was based on "baseless fabricated claims".

He also criticised Saudi Arabia and the UAE, both members of ICAO's governing council, for shutting down the airline's offices.

"We support this effort and our choice is resolve this through dialogue", Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told reporters in Paris after meeting his French counterpart.

Pakistan's parliament last week passed a resolution urging the Pakistani government to help mediate the crisis, which could turn out to be disastrous for the regional security and stability. Saudi authorities banned vessels flying the Qatari flag or owned by Qatari companies or individuals, and closed the land border through which Qatar imports food.

Oman is not among the Arab states that cut ties to Qatar, and has brokered secret negotiations between Western governments and Iran in the past.

"It is hard for us, the generation that built the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) 37 years ago, to see these disagreements between its members which may lead to undesirable consequences", said Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad al Jaber al Sabah.

The minister, who is also president of Qatar Airways' executive board, brushed aside concerns of a financial meltdown. "If we're going to lose a dollar, they will lose a dollar also".

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Iran, Saudi Arabia's main regional rival, had announced Sunday that it had sent five planes carrying produce to Qatar.

Qatar has denied the charges and said the restrictions violate global law.

"We still have no clue what is behind these measures", he said. France has economic and military ties with Qatar and other Gulf states.

Some analysts say the diplomatic war on Qatar is because Doha acts more independently of Riyadh in its foreign policy, including in its relations with Iran.

Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies have reportedly been angered by the sometimes critical coverage they receive from Al Jazeera. But since June 5, the UAE has joined Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt in cutting off sea traffic to Qatar as part of the nations cutting diplomatic ties.

The boss of Qatar Airways has accused the USA of fanning the flames of a dispute between the country and its Gulf neighbors. Instead of stopping at ports in the UAE, where cargo would then be loaded onto smaller vessels, direct services to Sohar and Salalah are now reportedly operating three times a week.

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