Egypt ends visa-free entry for Qataris, insists Doha meets demands

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (R) speaks with Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah (C), in the presence of Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (L), in Cairo, Egypt. (Egyptian Presidency/via Reuters)
Updated 17 July 2017
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Egypt ends visa-free entry for Qataris, insists Doha meets demands

CAIRO: Egypt will end visa-free entry for Qatari nationals with some exceptions, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said on Monday, the latest measure taken against Doha which Cairo and three Gulf governments are boycotting.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed sanctions on Qatar on June 5, cutting diplomatic and transport ties with the tiny Gulf monarchy, after accusing it of financing militant groups and allying with their regional arch-foe Iran. Doha denies the accusations.
“It does not make sense to keep making exceptions for Qatar and giving it privileges in light of its current positions,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid. Qatari nationals will now have to apply for a visa in order to enter Egypt.
Qatari nationals with Egyptian mothers, those married to Egyptians, and Qataris studying in Egypt will be exempt from having to apply for a visa, he added.
Sources at Cairo International Airport told Reuters the decision would be implemented as of Thursday.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told his Kuwaiti counterpart earlier on Monday that Egypt is standing by the list of demands it and the three Gulf countries made of Qatar and will keep sanctions against Doha in place.
Kuwait has been leading mediation efforts between Qatar and the four Arab states boycotting it. Its top diplomat Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah met Shoukry and President Abdel Fattah al Sissi in Cairo on Monday.
“The Foreign Minister affirmed to his Kuwaiti counterpart Egypt’s commitment to the list of demands presented to the state of Qatar and the continuation of sanctions taken against it,” Abu Zeid said in a statement earlier.
The insistence comes “in light of what the quartet states see as Qatar’s stalling and procrastination, and lack of concern for the concerns of the four states,” he said.
Shoukry told Sabah the only way the crisis would be resolved was if Qatar fulfilled the demands, which include curtailing its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, shutting down the pan-Arab al Jazeera satellite TV channel, closing a Turkish military base and downgrading its relations with rival Iran.
Sissi told Sabah he appreciated what Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah was doing to preserve Arab unity but that Egypt would not let anyone interfere in its affairs and would stand strong against policies that support terrorism, his spokesman Alaa Youssef said in a statement.


Arab coalition: Operations in Yemen aimed at pressuring Houthi to accept political solution

Updated 32 sec ago
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Arab coalition: Operations in Yemen aimed at pressuring Houthi to accept political solution

The spokesperson for the Saudi-led Arab coalition Col. Turki Al-Maliki said on Friday that operations in Yemen are “aimed at pressuring the Houthi militias to accept the political solution.”During a press conference in Brussels, Al-Maliki said that the safety of the people was their top priority.Al-Maliki was in Belgium to hold talks with European officials on the situation in Yemen and aid delivery to the war-torn country.
“The political diplomatic solution is always the best option for the Yemeni people,” he continued.
“The coalition is continuing its efforts to restore legitimacy in Yemen and the operations in Hodeidah are ongoing,” Maliki added.
“We have many options in Hodeidah, including a lightening military operation,” he stressed.

Yemen’s national army, backed by the Saudi-led Arab coalition, launched last week an operation to liberate Hodeidah and its strategic port from the Iran-backed Houthi militias.

Its liberation will end the threat against international navigation in the Red Sea, he said.

Al-Maliki also accused the Houthis of using civilian residences as military fortifications. They have also imposed additional taxes of business owners to fund their war effort.

Meanwhile he said that the coalition had been providing all possible ways to deliver medical and food aid to Hodeidah. "Aid is being delivered throughout Yemen without discrimination," he said.

The militias, said Maliki, have arrested several human rights groups workers.