Saudi minister says Qatar must end support for Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood

UNTV News   •   June 7, 2017   •   6062

FILE PHOTO: Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir speaks during a joint news conference with his Jordanian counterpart Nasser Judeh at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Amman, Jordan, July 9, 2015. REUTERS/Majed Jaber

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Tuesday Qatar must take several steps, including ending its support for the Palestinian group Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, to restore ties with other Arab states.

Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said Qatar knew exactly what to do to restore relations with Riyadh and its Arab allies.

“We want to see Qatar implement the promises it made a few years back with regard its support of extremist groups, regards its hostile media and interference in affairs of other countries,” Jubeir told reporters in Paris.

“Nobody wants to hurt Qatar. It has to choose whether it must move in one direction or another direction”.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain said on Monday they would sever all ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

“We took this step with great pain so that it understands that these policies are not sustainable and must change,” Jubeir said.

Jubeir added that Qatar was undermining the Palestinian Authority and Egypt in its support of Hamas and the Muslim brotherhood.

“We don’t think this is good. Qatar has to stop these policies so that it can contribute to stability in the Middle East,” he said.

Jubeir declined to say exactly what he wanted Qatar to do immediately, but said the measures taken by Arab states, including a sea, land and air blockade would have a considerable cost on the country.

“We believe that common sense and logic will convince Qatar to take the right steps. The decisions that were made were very strong and will have a fairly large cost on Qatar and we do not believe that Qataris want to sustain those costs,” he said.

The campaign to isolate Qatar is disrupting trade in commodities from crude oil to metals and food, and deepening fears of a possible shock to the global gas market, where the Gulf state is a major player.

Jubeir also dismissed Qatar’s recent rapprochement with Shi’ite Iran – Sunni Saudi Arabia’s arch foe in the region – saying that countries that deal with Tehran “deal with it at their own peril”.

When asked whether there could be military measures should Doha not change course, Jubeir said: “I hope not.” — By John Irish | PARIS

(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Maya Nikolaeva and Angus MacSwan)

May 25 declared a regular holiday for Eid’l Fitr

Marje Pelayo   •   May 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has declared May 25 a regular holiday in observance of Eid‘l Fitr, the end of the Muslim community’s fasting month of Ramadan.

The declaration was based on the recommendation of the  National Commission of Muslim Filipinos.

Proclamation Number 944, likewise, reminded the public of the quarantine regulations such as wearing of face masks and physical distancing to be observed on the duration of the holiday due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Under government order, mass gatherings such as religious events are still restricted in different parts of the Philippines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

Qatar temporarily bans travelers from Philippines, 13 other countries amid COVID-19 spread

Robie de Guzman   •   March 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Travelers from the Philippines and 13 other nations are temporarily barred from entering Qatar amid the rapid spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) worldwide, its state communications office announced.

In a press statement issued Sunday, the Qatar government said the entry ban will take effect on March 9, Monday.

The ban covers China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria and Thailand.

The move affects all individuals intending to enter Qatar, including visas upon arrival, those with a residence or work permit, and temporary visitors.

 “This step comes in line with the State of Qatar’s efforts to take all necessary preventive measures to limit the spread of coronavirus,” the statement read.

“The State of Qatar urges all citizens and residents to avoid all but essential travel at this time,” it added.

Qatar Airways has already suspended flights to and from Italy.

Qatar’s communications office also said that these precautionary measures may be subject to further updates based on the latest guidance of the national health authorities and international organizations on the spread of coronavirus in order to ensure the safety of all residents of the state.

Qatar has recorded 15 cases of novel coronavirus.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines has climbed to 10 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported four more cases on Sunday. The new cases were announced a day after the DOH confirmed the virus’ local transmission in the country.

Qatar brings first newly-built 2022 World Cup stadium to life

Robie de Guzman   •   May 17, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

Qatar inaugurated the first of seven new World Cup 2022 stadiums on Thursday (May 16), just weeks before a crucial FIFA summit will decide whether to expand the tournament and potentially push it beyond the tiny Gulf state’s borders to accommodate a larger format.

Fans packed into the Al Janoub stadium, a 40,000 seat venue designed by late architect Zaha Hadid and made to resemble the sail of a dhow, or traditional wooden sailboat, to cheer on Qatari teams playing in the final of the Emir Cup, a local tournament for the country’s club sides.

The inauguration comes as soccer’s world governing body FIFA floats a plan to expand the next World Cup to 48 teams from 32, which could require a last-minute co-host despite a protracted dispute between Qatar and some of its neighbours, bans on alcohol and a lack of facilities restricting likely candidates.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed a political and trade boycott on Qatar since mid-2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism, which Doha denies.

That rift has strained efforts by FIFA President Gianni Infantino to push for a suitable Word Cup co-host even as qualifying matches begin early next month.

FIFA will host its annual congress in Paris on June 5, where it is expected to make a final call on the expansion, though any decision must be signed off by Qatar, the first Arab country to win hosting rights for the tournament in 2010.

The finals will start in November 2022, having been moved from the usual June-July slot to avoid the searing summer heat.

Al Janoub, a fully air-conditioned stadium which kept the temperature 10 degrees lower than the 29 Celsius outside during Thursday’s inauguration match, was previously called Al Wakrah after the city hosting it just south of Doha.

However, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani tweeted before the match that it was being renamed.

It is one of seven venues built from scratch for the 2022 World Cup, with an eighth stadium renovated and opened in 2017.

Qatar has pushed ahead with an ambitious scale-up of its infrastructure ahead of 2022 that includes $6-8 billion on stadiums and sporting facilities, part of efforts to use the tournament to diversify its energy economy and project itself on to the world stage through sport. (REUTERS)

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