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Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and UAE cut diplomatic ties with Qatar as Gulf rift deepens

A file picture of Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani attending a Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Doha, Qatar.

A file picture of Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani attending a Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Doha, Qatar.   | Photo Credit: AP

Decision follows the gas-rich nation’s support to Islamist groups; Etihad Airways to suspend flights from June 6

Four Arab nations cut diplomatic ties with Qatar early Monday morning, further deepening a rift between these nations and that country for its support to Islamist groups.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all announced that they would withdraw their diplomatic staff from Qatar, a gas-rich nation that will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Saudi Arabia said Qatari troops would be pulled from its ongoing war in Yemen.

Later in the day, Yemen's internationally recognised government also cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of working with its enemies in the Iran-aligned Houthi movement, state news agency Saba reported.

“Qatar's practices of dealing with the (Houthi) coup militias and supporting extremist groups became clear,” the government said in a statement.

It added that Yemen supported a decision by a Saudi-led coalition fighting for more than two years to oust the Houthis from the capital Sanaa to remove Qatar from its ranks announced earlier on Monday.

Air, sea traffic to go

The four nations also said they planned to cut air and sea traffic to the peninsular country. It wasn’t immediately clear how that would affect Qatar Airways, one of the region’s major long-haul carriers.

Qatari officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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.

Al-Jazeera blocked

The decision comes after Qatar alleged in late May that hackers took over the site of its state-run news agency and published what it called fake comments from its ruling Emir about Iran and Israel. Its Gulf Arab neighbours responded with anger and blocked Qatari-based media, including the Doha-based satellite news network Al-Jazeera.

Etihad Airways suspends flights

Abu Dhabi's state-owned Etihad Airways said it would suspend all flights to and from Doha from Tuesday morning until further notice.

The last flight from Abu Dhabi to Doha would depart at 02:45 local time on Tuesday, the airline's spokesman said in an email.

Etihad said their flights on June 5 would operate as normal.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 11:51:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/four-nations-cut-diplomatic-ties-with-qatar-as-gulf-rift-deepens/article18721719.ece

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