Gulf countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar over 'terrorism'

Ross Kinnaird

Ross Kinnaird

Every stock listed on Doha's headline index was trading sharply lower in early trade.

The governments of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt said in statements they will suspend air and sea travel to and from Qatar.

"The market is weak right now and this news isn't going to help matters", said Sanyalak Manibhandu, the head of research at NBAD Securities.

Egypt has also cut off relations with the tiny Gulf state.

It said: "We have no further comments for the time being".

"What's concerning this time is that the move was taken after the apparent failure of negotiations to diffuse tensions, as it seems as if we've hit a brick wall in terms of regional politics".

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.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain have broken off diplomatic relations and all land sea and air contacts with fellow Gulf Arab state Qatar over allegations that the latter is encouraging terrorism and extremism. Qatar was also expelled from a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad Airways said on Monday that it was suspending flights to Qatar amid the rift, the Associated Press reported.

A low-priced airline based in the United Arab Emirates says it is suspending flights to Qatar along with other Emirati airlines over a growing diplomatic crisis.

The call was a clear, public rebuttal of Saudi Arabia's efforts to force Qatar to fall in line against the Shiite-ruled nation, which the Sunni kingdom sees as its No. 1 enemy and a threat to regional stability.

Residents and visitors of those countries must leave Qatar within 14 days.

Qatar's Foreign Affairs Ministry made the statement Monday, hours after Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announced it would be cutting ties to the peninsular nation. "And if there is any role that we can play in terms of helping them address those, we think it is important that the GCC remain unified", Tillerson said.

The statement said all Egyptian ports and airports would be closed to Qatari vessels.

The Saudi Press Agency said the Saudi government would also reach out to its allies "and start the immediate legal procedures for understanding with fraternal and friendly countries and worldwide companies to implement the same procedure as soon as possible for all means of transport to and from the State of Qatar, for reasons related to Saudi national security".

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