In a rather positive gesture, despite being ostracised by its Gulf neighbours, Qatar has asked the citizens from GCC including those from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain to stay in the country.

Since imposing the ban on Qatar, GCC countries led by Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain have expelled Qatar citizens. But instead of escalating the feud, Doha in a statement said that the residents of Saudi, UAE and Bahrain can stay.

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 A part of statement carried in Al Jazeera on Sunday said there was no change in policy towards the nationals of "brotherly and friendly countries, which cut or reduced diplomatic relations following the malicious and hostile campaigns against Qatar".

In another statement, the country also boasted that it was business was "business as usual" for vital gas exports. Earlier on Sunday, Iran's national carrier said that the country had sent five planes of food exports, including fruit and vegetables, to Qatar.

The food imports to the country were threatened after Saudi Arabia, which imports most of the food to the country, close down its road, sea and air links to the country.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and others accused Qatar of supporting extremist groups, an assertion since backed by US President Donald Trump.

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Qatar strongly rejects the allegations and has said it is open to talks on ending the dispute, which also saw the three Gulf states order all Qatari citizens out of their countries within 14 days.

The crisis has raised deep concerns about instability in the region and today Kuwait's foreign minister said his country would continue efforts to mediate a solution to the crisis.

Qatar said has said that it will not retaliate. In a statement carried on Qatari state media said that Doha would "not take any measures against residents of Qatar who hold the nationalities of countries that severed diplomatic ties... on the back of hostile and tendentious campaigns against the country".

The decision will come as a relief to the more than 11,000 people from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain living in Qatar.

Concerns have been raised for the impact of these measures on people who live in all the countries affected. "For potentially thousands of people across the Gulf, the
effect of the steps imposed in the wake of this political dispute is suffering, heartbreak and fear," Amnesty International has said.

Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it was ordering "suitable measures" to help families with mixed citizenships but provided few details.


(With PTI inputs)