President Sisi (L) and King Salman (R)- File photo President Sisi (L) and King Salman (R)- File photo

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar

Mon, Jun. 5, 2017

CAIRO - 5 June 2017: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain announced they are severing relations with Qatar over "its continuous support for terrorism," closing their airspace and seaports for Qatari transportation on Monday.

The four Arab countries withdrew their diplomatic missions from Qatar.

Egypt said in a statement early Monday that diplomatic relations have been suspended over Qatar's support for the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, adding that all airspace and seaports are closed to Qatari transportation.

"Qatar is promoting the terrorist ideology of Daesh (Islamic State militant group) and Al-Qaeda groups, and supports the terror attacks in Sinai," the statement added.

“Protecting national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism, Saudi Arabia has decided to cut diplomatic ties and consular relations with the State of Qatar,” announced the Saudi Foreign Ministry in a statement.

Bahrain also gave Qatari diplomats 48 hours to leave its territories; it also closed airspace and seaports to Qatari transportation. Bahrain too has banned its citizens from travelling to Qatar. All Qatari expatriates have only 14 days to leave Bahrain.

“The UAE supports statements of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Qatar,” the Emirati Foreign Ministry stated on Monday.

The UAE has taken “safeguarding measures” against Qatari diplomats and expatriates in the Emirates, including breaking off diplomatic relations and giving Qatari diplomats 48 hours to leave the UAE, preventing Qatari nationals from entering the UAE or crossing its points of entry, giving Qatari residents, and giving visitors in the UAE 14 days to leave the country for precautionary security reasons. UAE nationals are likewise banned from traveling to or staying in Qatar,or transiting through its territories.

Emirati airspace and seaports for all Qataris will close within 24 hours, and the UAE has banned all Qatari means of transportation, coming to or leaving the UAE, from crossing, entering or leaving UAE territories.

In addition, the UAE will be taking all legal measures in collaboration with friendly countries and international companies with regard to Qataris using the UAE airspace and territorial waters, from and to Qatar, for national security considerations.

Tensions between Qatar and the other Arab Gulf states have been strained since Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani directed a message to four Arab countries - Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain - that “being hostile to Iran is unwise.”

Tamim's remarks, which were published on the state-owned news agency on May 24, stirred Arab and Gulf States' anger. However, a Qatari official said that the news agency had been hacked.

The warning was sent shortly after the American-Arab-Islamic summit was held in Riyadh between Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, U.S. President Donald Trump, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and King Abdullah II of Jordan in mid-May. The four leaders announced their integrated efforts to fight terrorism in the region and the world, agreeing on confronting the growing Iranian threat in the Middle East and inaugurating the Center for Combating Extremist Ideology to monitor and fight extremism.

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