Gulf states announce humanitarian gesture to help families with Qatari members

Cars drive in Doha, Qatar, on Sunday. (REUTERS)
Updated 12 June 2017

Gulf states announce humanitarian gesture to help families with Qatari members

JEDDAH: As the week-long Qatari crisis drags on without a clear commitment from Doha to renounce terrorism, three Gulf states announced on Sunday a humanitarian gesture to help families with Qatari members.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE announced hotlines to help affected families, as Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed efforts to “counterterrorism and extremism” in a phone call with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
Kuwait, which is trying to mediate a solution to the regional crisis, on Sunday said Qatar is ready to listen to the concerns of Gulf states that have cut diplomatic and economic ties.
Kuwait “affirms the readiness of the brothers in Qatar to understand the reality of the qualms and concerns of their brothers and to heed the noble endeavors to enhance security and stability,” Kuwait’s state news agency KUNA quoted Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah as saying.
Kuwait, which has retained ties with Qatar and has often acted as a mediator in regional disputes, said it wanted to resolve the dispute “within the unified Gulf house.”
In another development Sunday, Iran sent four cargo planes of food to Doha. Five aircraft carrying around 90 tons of vegetables each had been sent to Qatar in recent days, said Iran Air spokesman Shahrokh Noushabadi, adding: “We will continue deliveries as long as there is demand.”
In addition, African Union (AU) Chairman Alpha Conde on Sunday put himself forward as a mediator in the crisis, and urged dialogue after several African nations recalled their ambassadors to Qatar.
Conde, who is president of Guinea, which has close ties to Saudi Arabia, said in a letter to King Salman that he had observed with “sadness” the feud between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors, which he described as “brother countries” of Muslim-majority Guinea.
“Only dialogue will allow us to reach a real compromise,” Conde added in the letter, praising King Salman’s “wisdom” and “know-how” in battling extremism.
In another setback for Doha, the world soccer body FIFA removed a Qatari referee from a 2018 World Cup qualifier following a request from the UAE.
The Zurich-based organization said it agreed with the UAE that the Qataris due to officiate the game against Thailand in Bangkok on Tuesday should be replaced.
Instead, a referee from Singapore will take charge of the qualifier for next year’s tournament in Russia. He will be assisted by a fellow Singaporean and two officials from Malaysia.
— With input from Reuters, AFP, AP

Key events in Egypt since the 2011 pro-democracy uprising

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. (Supplied)
Updated 21 April 2019

Key events in Egypt since the 2011 pro-democracy uprising

CAIRO: Here are key events in eight years of turmoil and transition in Egypt, leading up to a national referendum on constitutional amendments that could allow President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to remain in power until 2030.

● Feb. 11, 2011: Autocrat Hosni Mubarak steps down after 18 days of nationwide protests against his nearly 30-year rule. The military takes over, dissolving Parliament and suspending the constitution after the uprising leaves hundreds of protesters dead in clashes with security forces.

● Nov. 28, 2011-Feb. 15, 2012: The Muslim Brotherhood wins nearly half the seats in multi-stage elections for the first post-Mubarak Parliament.

● June 30, 2012: The Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate Muhammad Mursi takes office as Egypt’s first freely elected president.

● Aug. 12, 2012: Mursi removes the defense minister and military chief, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, and replaces him with El-Sisi.

● Nov. 22, 2012: Mursi unilaterally decrees greater powers for himself, a move that sparks days of protests.

● Dec. 15-22, 2012: Egyptians approve a constitution drafted and hastily passed by Parliament amid protests and walkouts by other groups.

● June 30, 2013: On Mursi’s anniversary in office, millions of Egyptians begin days of demonstrations demanding his resignation. The military gives him 48 hours to reach an agreement with his opponents, but he vows to remain in office.

● July 3, 2013: El-Sisi announces Mursi’s removal.

● Aug. 14, 2013: More than 600 people, mostly Mursi supporters, are killed when police clear two pro-Mursi sit-ins in Cairo. Mursi supporters retaliate by torching government buildings, churches and police stations. Hundreds more die in subsequent violence.

● Dec. 25, 2013: The government designates the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.

● May 26-28, 2014: Egyptians vote in a presidential election. El-Sisi wins with 96.9 percent of the vote.

● May 16, 2015: Mursi and more than 100 others are sentenced to death over a mass prison break during the 2011 uprising.

● Oct. 2015: Egypt holds parliamentary elections, leading to an assembly packed with El-Sisi supporters.

● April 2, 2018: El-Sisi wins a second, four-year term in office, with more than 97 percent of the vote.
● Feb. 2019: Lawmakers submit proposed amendments to the constitution that allow El-Sisi to remain in power beyond his current second four-year term.

● April 10: President Donald Trump welcomes El-Sisi to the White House for a second official visit.

● April 17: The Parliament, packed with El-Sisi’s supporters, overwhelmingly passes the proposed amendments.

● April 18: Egypt’s National Election Authority schedules three days of voting in a nationwide referendum on the amendments. The vote takes place Saturday through Monday.