The operating licence of Qatar Airways was revoked by Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, with the country ordering the airline’s offices to be closed within 48 hours, reported Reuters. This comes after Saudi and several other nations cut ties with Qatar on Monday.
“The General Authority of Civil Aviation has decided to cancel all licences granted to Qatar Airways and to close all of its offices in the kingdom within 48 hours,” a statement carried by the official SPA news agency said.
The statement added that “any licences granted to Qatar Airways employees would also be withdrawn”. It asked passengers who had purchased ticket to or from Qatar to contact the airlines or their travel agent for a refund.
Meanwhile, it was reported that Kuwait’s ruler Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah will travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to meet with King Salman, hoping to resolve the rift between Qatar and the other powerful Arab states.
Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani on Tuesday said Kuwait has offered to mediate and help resolve the hostile situation against Doha, Al Jazeera reported. Kuwait’s ruler asked Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, not to issue a statement on the escalating rift just yet. Doha’s official, however, said it would not allow any external forces to impose decisions on its internal affairs.
Seven countries had severed ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing the gulf state of supporting militant groups and Iran as well as interfering in other countries’ affairs. Qatar had called the nations’ decision to isolate it a “violation of its sovereignty”, and vowed to its citizens that the decision won’t affect them.
On May 23, Qatar’s news agency was reportedly hacked. A statement issued by the Qatar government had read, “The Qatar News Agency (QNA) website has been hacked by an unknown entity. A false statement attributed to His Highness has been published.” The incident came days after US President Donald Trump met Gulf Arab leaders in Riyadh.