RIYADH, June 12 Oman welcomed a decision by
three Gulf countries to give special consideration to families
with Qatari spouses and children on Monday, after they cut ties
with Qatar last week and expelled Qatari nationals from their
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain announced
hotlines to help the mixed families yesterday, a step Oman said
would aid "humanitarian cases of families shared between them
and Qatar" in a statement on state news agency ONA.
"It is considered by the Sultanate to be a good step toward
calm," the statement said.
The three countries portrayed the coordinated move,
announced yesterday, as an attempt to lessen the humanitarian
impact of their June 5 decision, which has caused travel and
shipping disruptions. However, they did not make clear what
services the hotlines would provide.
Oman is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council but takes a
relatively independent diplomatic approach from the other five
states in the bloc, especially on relations with Iran, a
sticking point in the dispute with Qatar.
It has allowed Qatar to open new shipping services from its
territory to sidestep a port ban that accompanied the severing
of ties, enabling the small Gulf state to secure a food lifeline
(Reporting by Katie Paul, editing by Larry King)