Qatar rift: Saudi, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt cut diplomatic ties

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have broken off relations with Qatar, in the worst diplomatic crisis to hit Gulf Arab states in decades.

The three Gulf countries and Egypt have accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region. Qatar — which shares its only land border with Saudi Arabia — has rejected the accusations calling them “unjustified” and “baseless”. Yemen and the Maldives also cut ties with Qatar.

Qatari citizens have been told they have 14 days to leave Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE, while those countries also banned their own citizens from entering Qatar.

Key developments:

  • Qataris given 14 days to leave the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi
  • Qatar ejected from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen over alleged support of ISIS and al-Qaeda, according to Saudi state media
  • Yemen and Maldives governments also cut ties with Qatar
  • Emirates airline says it’s suspending all flights to and from Doha starting Tuesday morning
  • Kuwait, Oman only Gulf Cooperation Council members remaining with ties to Qatar.
  • Iran blames tensions on Donald Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s state news agency announced the cutting of ties Monday, saying it was seeking to “protect national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism.”

All ports of entry between the two countries will be closed, according to the statement.
Gulf allies have repeatedly criticized Qatar for alleged support of the Muslim Brotherhood, a nearly 100-year-old Islamist group considered a terrorist organization by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The UAE accused Qatar of “funding and hosting” the group in its statement announcing the severance of ties.

It also cited Qatar’s “ongoing policies that rattle the security and sovereignty of the region as well as its manipulation and evasion of its commitments and treaties” as the reason for its actions.

Saudi Arabia accused Qatar in its statement of “adopting” groups including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatar denies that it funds or supports extremist groups.

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