Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain on Monday cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar amid a deepening rift between Gulf Arab nations.
The official state news agency, citing an official source, said Saudi Arabia had decided to sever diplomatic and consular relations with Qatar “proceeding from the exercise of its sovereign right guaranteed by international law and the protection of national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism”.
Saudi Arabia cut all land air and sea contacts with Qatar “and urges all brotherly countries and companies to do the same.”
Citing “protection of national security,” Riyadh then announced it was also severing ties with Doha and closing off all land, sea and air contacts, the Saudi state agency said in a statement, cited by Reuters.
Egypt was next to join the diplomatic war, with Cairo announcing it is cutting relations with Doha, according to Sputnik news agency.
UAE has also issued a notification to Qatar citizens to leave the country within 14 days, while diplomats have been asked to exit within 48 hours.
Bahrain’s Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement early Monday saying it would withdraw its diplomatic mission from the Qatari capital of Doha within 48 hours and that all Qatari diplomats should leave Bahrain within the same period.
The ministry’s statement said Qatari citizens needed to leave Bahrain within two weeks and that air and sea traffic between the two countries would be halted. It wasn’t immediately clear how that would affect Qatar Airways, one of the region’s major long-haul carriers.
Bahrain blamed Qatar’s “media incitement, support for armed terrorist activities and funding linked to Iranian groups to carry out sabotage and spreading chaos in Bahrain” for its decision. Qatar had no immediate comment.
Qatar termed the Arab nations' decision a 'violation of its sovereignty' and vowed to citizens that the country will not let the change in diplomatic ties affect them, AP reported.
Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad says it is suspending flights to Qatar amid Gulf diplomatic rift: AP pic.twitter.com/Vy9Z5y3ha4— ANI (@ANI_news) June 5, 2017