Rania Tadros Managing Partner
The end of 2017 is a good time to re-visit the “sanctions” against Qatar put in place in June by UAE, KSA, Bahrain, Egypt and others. Since our last update in July 2017 the position has not changed substantively but the following should be noted:
- On 5 July 2017, the four Arab nations received a "negative response" to the list of demands presented to Qatar on 22 June 2017 consisting of 13 points;
- On 18 July 2017, the four countries said they will not insist on Qatar complying with the 13 demands and instead wanted it to commit to six "principles": preventing the financing of terrorism and extremism, prohibiting incitement of hatred of and violence, full commitment to Riyadh Agreement 2013 and related agreements, commitment to the outcomes of the May 2017 Arab-Islamic-US Summit held in Riyadh, refraining from interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and confronting all forms of extremism and terrorism;
- On 24 July 2017, the sanctioning countries added 9 entities and 9 individuals to the existing blacklist, bringing the total numbers of blacklisted names to 68 individuals and 21 entities. This is in addition to 6 Qatari financial institutions subjected to enhanced due diligence requirements;
- In August 2017 Qatar requested WTO dispute consultations with the UAE, Bahrain and KSA and eventually requested establishment of a panel by the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB). On 22 November 2017, the DSB established a panel for resolution of these disputes.
Qatar has not issued any official measures in retaliation although we do occasionally hear reports of problems with customs clearance of goods originating from the boycotting countries. We understand that Qatar has focused on launching new maritime routes from the newly opened Hamad Port to various destinations that would enable the trade routes to bypass the transshipment hubs in the UAE.
In relation to restrictions on shipping and trade, the UAE’s official position remains unchanged since June 2017.
9 January 2021
In its first circular of 2021 the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure has announced the reopening of airspace and sea / land borders with Qatar. We understand that all previous measures taken with respect to Qatari owned vessels and cargo will also be lifted and relations will resume as normal.
The announcement follows a similar announcement by Saudi Arabia following a meeting of GCC leaders in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia early in the New Year. At the time so called sanctions were imposed in the summer of 2017 other countries including Egypt also imposed restrictions on the arrival of Qatari owned cargo and vessels into ports. It is expected that all countries will lift such restrictions in the coming weeks.
This is a welcome step to the maritime community internationally as ship owners/operators will no longer need to plan routes to take into account of restrictions which were in place and furthermore service suppliers in the UAE can now resume to serve Qatari requirements.
If you would like further information on the unfolding crisis and how this may affect your operations in the region please contact Rania Tadros, Managing Partner in Dubai.
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