Common Roots: Ancient Evangelical Future Conference

Church fears over Saudi-Qatari diplomatic spat

Bishop of Cyprus & the Gulf urges quick resolution to end the blockade of Qatar by the gulf states

The sudden and largely unprecedented actions taken by in particular Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates (with some others) to isolate the State of Qatar have caused much speculation and some real concern.

One major effect is on Gulf travel to and from Qatar:  Qatar Airways is prohibited from flying to those nations and their airlines are forbidden from Qatar. The airspace of those nations is not available to Qatar Airways flights. Note that at present that is the extent of the ban:  Qatar Airways can fly to other countries and vice versa but routes will in most cases need to be varied;  and there are nations in the Gulf region that are not party to the action.

Qatari citizens living or working in the countries that have taken the action are also affected but at this stage non-citizen foreign nationals who are residents of Qatar are not in the same position as its citizens.

The presenting and ostensible reasons for the action are not the only factors in play. There will be varying analyses of how and why things reached this moment and of ways forward.

Certainly these are major developments and nothing can be predicted with complete certainty, or anything like it. But Arab nations have historically been able to negotiate disagreements on reflection, with due deliberation, and over the course of time, and our prayer is that intense professional  diplomacy that will go behind and beyond fervent rhetoric will bear fruit.

Other world nations, not least the most powerful, bear a responsibility to aid such diplomacy.

I ask all people of good will to pray thoughtfully and intelligently for the resolution of the situation for the common good and for the peace of the region and the world.

+ Michael Cyprus & the Gulf
The Rt Revd Michael Lewis
Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East

7 June 2017

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