Statement of the Embassy Concerning the Imposed Blockade on the State of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain

The Gulf crisis has completed its first year, and its developments have remained successively in favor of the State of Qatar, as ICJ Grants Qatar’s Request for Provisional Measures against United Arab Emirates for Human Right Violation, which is as follows:

ICJ Grants Qatar’s Request for Provisional Measures against United Arab Emirates for Human Right Violation

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued today an order granting the State of Qatar's request for provisional measures against the United Arab Emirates in a case relating to the UAE's unlawful discriminatory treatment of Qatari citizens. The court’s order requires the UAE to immediately allow:

  • lQatari- UAE families, who were separated due to UAE.
  • lQatari Students to complete their studies in the UAE or to retain records of their studies to be able to continue their education elsewhere.
  • lQataris to have access to judicial services in the UAE.

On June 11, the State of Qatar filed a complaint with the International Court of Justice, accusing the UAE of committing discriminatory measures against Qatari citizens, resulting in human rights violations, when the UAE collectively expelled Qataris and banned them from entering or passing through its territory, following the outbreak of the Gulf crisis in June 2017

The United Nations urges blockade countries to cease violations resulting from the blockade:

Six decision makers at the Human Rights Council affiliated with the UN urged the blockade countries to take the necessary measures to stop the violations they caused after the blockade of the state of Qatar, as well as to take the necessary steps to prevent repetition of these violations.

The United Nations official website revealed on April 21, 2018 that the six decision makers sent letters to each of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain observing the violations that had occurred because of the blockade, based on reports by the National Commission of Human Rights and some international organizations.

The letters reminded the blockade countries of their international commitments and the necessity of respecting the international treaties and charters that they signed as part of the international community.   

The six decision makers have also warned that the responsible for these violations are to be questioned in case the latter are proven. They further confirmed that the expected reactions of the blockade countries are to be referred to the Human Rights Council for consideration, knowing that the official report of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights had already condemned these violations and accused the blockade countries for taking discriminative, one-sided measures against citizens and residents of Qatar.

Qatari-US strategic Dialogue:

The state of Qatar and the United States held their first strategic dialogue on January 30, 2018 in Washington, D.C. They emphasized the strong ties between the two countries, and set a common strategic vision to the future of their strategic partnership. The two countries also discussed certain areas of partnership, including areas of defense, anti-terrorism, anti-extremism, trade and investment. The following are some of the most important points of the final common statement issued after the end of the dialogue:

  • The two countries examined the Gulf crisis, and expressed the need for an immediate solution that respects the sovereignty of Qatar. They also expressed their concern about the adverse security, economic and human effects of the crisis, as well as their concern about peace and stability in the Gulf and the commitment to the international law.
  • The US has recognized the generous humanitarian role that the State of Qatar plays at the bilateral and multilateral levels through the work of various UN agencies, support of forcibly displaced people, help of refugees, including millions of vulnerable women and children.
  • The state of Qatar and the United states confirmed the vital contribution that their defense partnership provides for the security and stability of the region. This collaboration is essential to the success of combating terrorism, extremism and external aggression. The US officials praised the contributions of Qatar to support the significant presence of the US military in Qatar under the US central command.
  • The two parties intend to consolidate their security partnership and to combat terrorism and extremism. They reviewed the positive progress achieved according to the obligations of the memorandum of understanding concerning anti-terrorism signed on July 11, 2017, including what is related to exchange of information, combat of financing terrorism, security of aviation, and building of capacities. The US thanked the state of Qatar for taking action to combat all forms of terrorism and extremism, and also for being one of the few countries to proceed in a binary memorandum of understanding with the US.


  • The State of Qatar and the US intend to launch a training program to provide assistance to combat terrorism as soon as possible, as shown in the letter of intention signed in 2017. The program is to focus on major areas such as aviation security, investigation related to terrorism and protection of easy targets.
  • The two governments referred to the latest memorandum of understanding held by the American General Attorney and his Qatari counterpart in relation to combating and financing terrorism, and fighting cyber-crime.
  • The two governments recognized the challenges facing Qatar as a result of the Gulf crisis that has suspended the previous Qatari trading partnerships. In this regard, Qatar pointed out that in spite of the conflict, the State has fulfilled all its international trading commitments.
  • The two countries stressed the necessity of maintaining freedom of navigation, aviation, and illegal trade without restrictions according to the international conventions and laws.

     Speech of His Highness The Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani

  • In accordance with the steady stance of the State of Qatar, His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani delivered a speech on July 21, 2107 in which He affirmed that: “Qatar is fighting Terrorism relentlessly and without compromises, and there is international recognition of Qatar’s role in this regard”.
  • Concerning the case of Al-Jazeera Channel His Highness said: “they have tried to undermine two principles that humanity has made sacrifices for. First, the principle of sovereignty and the independent will of States; secondly, freedom of expression and the right to information. Freedom of expression is meaningless if the citizen does not have the right to access information. Qatar has quashed the monopoly on information through the media revolution it started, and it is no longer possible to go back. This revolution has become an achievement for all the Arab peoples”.
  • His Highness continued: “This was tantamount to a true moral test where our society has achieved great success, as we have proved that there are basic principles and norms that we observe even in times of conflict and dispute, because we respect ourselves first and foremost”. His Highness called upon all to continue this approach, and not slip into what is inappropriate for the Qatari people, its principles, and values. 
  • His Highness also said that the State of Qatar is ready for dialogue and for reaching settlements on all contentious issues within the framework of respect for the sovereignty and will of each State, provided that any solution to this crisis in the future must include arrangements to ensure that this retaliatory approach in dealing with innocent citizens will not be repeated.
  • His Highness talked about the future prospects of the State of Qatar, saying that: “we are called upon to open our economy to investments and initiatives so that we produce our own food and medicine, diversify our sources of income, achieve our economic independence through bilateral relations of cooperation with other countries”.

    Regarding Causes of the Crisis:

    There are no real reasons for the Crisis. It is rather fabricated and based on lies and hack of the Qatari News Agency website by one of the blockade countries, on May 24, 2017, which published fabricated statements attributed to His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

    The hack was confirmed and the fabricated statements were refuted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the News Agency, and government officials who explained that the News Agency website was hacked. However, the media of the three blockade countries (Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain) insisted on these allegations, and neglected the statements of the Qatari officials.

    After a while, US media, namely Washington Post and NBC, confirmed that according to US officials the hack incident of the News Agency was caused by one the blockade countries. Moreover, the Ministry of Interior of Qatar held a press conference on July 21, in which it revealed evidence that proves the involvement of one of the blockade countries in the hack incident. The press conference was held after thorough investigation with the contribution of the FBI and NCA in Britain.

    Prior to hack incident, media of the blockade countries had already carried a huge media campaign against the State of Qatar. Also, one of these countries paid large amounts of money to research centers subsidiary to the extreme right in the US in order to publish articles targeting the State of Qatar in the US press.

    The Blockade:

  • Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt announced the cut of ties and the closure of air, sea, and land borders with Qatar on June, 2017. The Gulf countries also announced taking measures that included:
  • Expulsion of Qatari residents from the Gulf countries in no more than 14 days, and call for their own citizens to leave Qatar in no more than 2 weeks. Citizens of these countries have also been banned from visiting Qatar.
  • The blockade countries passed laws preventing sympathy with Qatar, and defined penalties into a sentence of 3-to-5-year prison, and fines up to 150.000 USD.
  • Ban of Qatari media and websites in the blockade countries.
  • The blockade countries issued a list of institutions and persons described as terrorists on June 8, 2017. The list contained 59 persons and 12 organizations among which Qatari charity foundations that have a consultative status with the United Nations.
  • The state of Qatar rejected the list because it does not support any group classified as a terrorist group by the United Nations.
  • The state of Qatar puts considerable humanitarian efforts in Gaza in collaboration with the United Nations in order to minimize the suffering of the Palestinian people. The state also has construction projects under supervision of the Quartet (the UN, the USA, Russia, and the EU).

     Humanitarian Impacts of the Blockade:

    The three Gulf countries imposed an illegal and unethical blockade on the State of Qatar. Decisions of the blockade countries separated families, and violated family and individual rights. It also violated the right to movement, education, private property, employment, and health:

    Family Separation: the expulsion of Qatari residents and the call for citizens of the three Gulf countries to leave Qatar resulted in family separation and creation of unjustifiable humanitarian cases through mandatory family expulsion. The National Human Rights Commission reported hundreds of cases.

    The Right to Private Property: the blockade led to a significant loss of money and properties of Qatari residents who were forced to leave the blockade countries without being able to make use of these properties. Thousands of citizens of the Gulf Countries own houses, factories, and trading companies in each other’s countries. However, measures taken by the blockade countries prevented them to make use of their properties.

    The Right to Movement and Residence: 11387 citizens of the three blockade Gulf countries reside in Qatar, and 1927 citizens of Qatar reside in those countries, all of whom were denied their right to movement. The National Commission of Human Rights in Qatar mentioned that: A Qatari citizens was not allowed to enter Saudi Arabia to receive the body of his brother who passed away in a traffic accident there.

    The decision of the blockade countries to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar made it difficult for residents of those countries to renew their passports, which makes them face huge obstacles to issue documents for newly born children, and to obtain residence in Qatar.

    The Right to Work: The National Commission for Human Rights reported that hundreds of cases of citizens from the blockade countries have lost their jobs because of to measures taken by these countries. Hence, they were deprived from their sources of income without compensations or substitutes.

    The Right to Education: The Qatari students studying in Bahrain and the UAE could not manage to continue their studies, knowing that the blockade countries measures were carried out only a few days before final examinations, which resulted in a loss of efforts of a whole academic year for students.

    The Qatari Response to the Blockade:

  • The State of refrained from taking similar measures against the blocked countries. Qatar managed to pass the ethical test in which blockade countries have failed. The blockade countries attempted to impose mass punishment on the Qatari people, make it starve, and put pressure on its economy in order to achieve political objectives, explicitly violating international laws and conventions, the Charter of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Charter of the League of Arab States.
  • The State of Qatar managed to find new alternatives to face the blockade through opening new sea lines and routes with friend, sister countries, and contracting new transactions with partners. Qatar also managed to find new markets to supply its needs. In addition, the production and exportation of oil and gas are continuing as usual, to the extent that the company of Qatar Petroleum announced a plan to increase its liquefied natural gas production with 30% to reach 100 million tons per year by 2024.

    International Appeal to Lift the Blockade:

  • USA: the US former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson praised the efforts of the State of Qatar to combat terrorism and to execute the memorandum of understanding between the two countries, and urged to cease the blockade of Qatar, on July 23, 2017.
  • Britain: The British Minister of Foreign Affairs, on July 23, 2017, urged to cease the blockade of Qatar, and to examine realistic and carefully studied demands in order to reduce tensions in the Gulf region.
  • Other Countries: Many countries, among which France and Italy urged to cease the blockade of Qatar.

    The Blockade Countries Demands and Qatar Response:

    The blockade countries did not present clear demands or complaints only until the USA and the European countries expressed their astonishment regarding the lack of submission of the list of complaints. The Us State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert stated that the longer we wait for the Gulf countries to present their complaints, the more we doubt about the measures taken against the State of Qatar. Afterwards, these countries submitted a list of unrealistic demands, of which she stated they were non-negotiable.

    His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, the Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs, held a meeting with the US secretary of State in Washington on Tuesday June 27, 2017, in which he stated that the demands of the blockade countries are accusations based on no evidence. He also expressed the willingness of Qatar to negotiate with these countries in case they are truly willing for dialogue, and have evidence to support their accusations.

    The demands of the blockade countries included shutting down of Al- Jazeera Channel, lowering of diplomatic relations with Iran, closure of the Turkish base, in addition to expulsion of members of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood from the State of Qatar.

    His Excellency also pointed out that considering demands as non-negotiable is against the International Law, emphasizing that the solution to the crisis should be according to the International Law that has to be respected by everybody. Moreover, His Excellency clarified that Doha and Washington agree that demands should be reasonable.

    His Excellency continued to confirm that the demands of the blockade countries are considered as interference in the internal affairs of Qatar, and an attempt to impose guardianship on its sovereignty. He clarified that the state of Qatar has the right to define the direction of its foreign policy according to its own vision, and independently from any subordination to other countries.

    Concerning relations with Iran, Qatar has good relations with Iran as with any other neighbor country in the region. The two countries share a gas field in the Arabian Gulf. His Excellency stated that Qatar manages its relations with Iran based on the vision of Qatar to build good relations with all neighboring countries, based on cooperation, mutual respect and common interest.

    As for the shutting down of Aljazeera channel, His Excellency considered this demand as an obvious interference with the internal sovereignty of the State of Qatar, which is completely rejected.

    Despite the lack of clear accusations, Qatar consistently expresses, since the onset of the blockade, the need for dialogue via all the conventional diplomatic means in order to solve conflicts with the sister Gulf countries. The State of Qatar avoided escalation of these conflicts, and did not take any measures similar to those of the blockade countries.

    The accusations against the State of Qatar are not true, including its support for the Muslim Brotherhood. The State of Qatar does not support any terrorist groups, but supports governments and groups that assumed power in Egypt and Tunisia through election. Qatar still supports and deals with the Tunisian government even it is not a Muslim Brotherhood government.

    Efforts of Qatar to Combat Terrorism

  • The State of Qatar leads international efforts to combat terrorism. Al Udeid airbase of Qatar plays a central role in forming international alliance against the (ISIS). If the State of Qatar supports terrorism, as claimed by some countries, the US would not consider it as a major partner in combating terrorism.
  • The State of Qatar signed a memorandum of understanding with the US during the visit of the US Secretary of State to Doha on July 11, 2017, to combat financing of terrorism. During the visit, the US Secretary of State recognized the role of Qatar in this domain, saying that the agreement signed with the State of Qatar ensures that both countries take responsibility to prevent financing of terrorism. He added that the State of Qatar was the first country to respond to the initiative of combating terrorism financing. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar also urged other countries, especially the blockade countries, to sign similar binary memorandum of understanding with the US from the same objectives.
  • The State of Qatar made amendments to Terrorism Act in order to combat all forms and sorts of terrorism.