Qatar Airways profits $540 million, braces for Gulf crisis


Standard & Poor's said Wednesday it has lowered its long-term rating on Qatar one notch to AA-, its fourth-highest level.

A couple of days after Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, and the Maldives formally severed diplomatic relations with Qatar, Pakistan Foreign Office on Wednesday clarified that the goal of these countries cutting ties was to fight terrorism and was not aimed against any country.

Most of Qatar's gas exports go to Asia via sea - 72 percent according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

It wasn't immediately clear how Trump's sharp condemnation might affect USA cooperation with Qatar, which hosts some 10,000 us troops and a major USA air base that serves as a staging ground for operations in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran is already helping Qatar not only with food but also by allowing Qatar Airways flights to Asia to cross Iranian airspace in their bid to circumvent Saudi, UAE and Bahrain airspace that has been closed to them.

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As many as 18 individuals were named, including members of Qatar's royal family and a former minister. "We ask Qatar and other nations in the region to do more, and do it faster..."

"Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are toying with the lives of thousands of Gulf residents as part of their dispute with Qatar, splitting up families and destroying people's livelihoods and education", the London-based human rights watchdog said.

Qatar acknowledges its links to these groups but denies that it supports terrorism.

"For Qatar, we want you back among the unity of responsible nations", he said.

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Trump's statement comes hours after Tillerson urged the Gulf Arab nations to ease their blockade of Qatar, citing humanitarian concerns and saying it may hinder the US-led campaign against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), and that the blockade caused unintended hardship to the people of Qatar.

They accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region with ties to their Shiite rival, Iran, and its support for groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. A statement from Egypt's presidency said President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Trump spoke by phone on Friday and that el-Sissi thanked him for his role in "the formation of a united front to combat terrorism".

Abu Dhabi's The National newspaper reported that the party would advocate a Qatari policy in line with Saudi and UAE demands, including curbing the activities of Sheikh Hamad's wife, Sheikha Mozah Al-Misnad, who heads Qatar Foundation; freezing Qatar's relations with Iran, ending Qatari support for Islamists in Libya and Egypt, and expelling Islamist leaders from the Gulf state.

To position itself as one of the region's power players, Qatar used its media, notably Al Jazeera's satellite news channel, as a tool to influence events in the region.

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