Yemen cuts diplomatic ties with Qatar

Ross Kinnaird

Ross Kinnaird

Saudi Arabia had made a decision to sever diplomatic and consular relations with Qatar "proceeding from the exercise of its sovereign right guaranteed by worldwide law and the protection of national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism", the report said.

The four countries announced they would withdraw their diplomatic staff from Qatar, and also the closure of its airspace and borders severing land, sea and air contact within the next 24 hours.

Egypt announced on Monday the cut of diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing the Gulf Arab state of supporting "terrorist" organizations, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

Qatar's Foreign Affairs Ministry called the measures unjustified and a violation of its sovereignty.The country has in the past denied supporting terrorism.

The Qatari News Agency report claimed Qatar had withdrawn its ambassadors from Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE because of "tension" with the administration of US President Donald Trump.

It accused Qatar of "shaking the security and stability of Bahrain and meddling in its affairs", its state news agency said.

Sunni Kingdom Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite-led Iran are at odds over what Riyadh sees as Tehran's efforts to tighten its grip on Arab states, from Iraq to Lebanon, and Syria to Yemen.

With a production capacity of about 600,000 barrels per day, Qatar's crude oil output, one of OPEC's smallest, is dwarfed by the near 10 million bpd churned out by the cartels de-facto leader, Saudi Arabia.

In a statement, Egypt said that Qatar had taken an "anti-Egyptian course" and that Cairo had been unable to dissuade it from supporting terrorism.

The group of Arab nations alleged Qatar of backing militant groups including the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

In the wake of the ongoing diplomatic rift in the Gulf, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways on Monday announced that it will cancel all flights to Qatar.

Etihad, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier, said it would suspend flights to Qatar "until further notice".

The dispute between Qatar and the Gulf's Arab countries started over a purported hack of Qatar's state-run news agency. Other airways in the countries involved are expected to follow suit. And Bahrain even declared that no Qatari diplomat will now be given a place to live in Bahrain. "If there is any role that we can play in terms of helping them address those, we think it is important that the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) remain unified", Tillerson said in televised remarks from Sydney.

The country is also home to the Al-Udeid airbase, where the U.S. conducts all coalition air operations for the region.

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