Saudi, Egypt, Bahrain, UAE and Yemen cut diplomatic ties with Qatar

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Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen
announced on Monday they were severing diplomatic ties with Qatar, as
tensions escalate in the region over accusations Doha sponsors
terrorism.

Saudi news agency SPA said Riyadh cut diplomatic ties and closed
borders with its neighbour to “protect its national security from the
dangers of terrorism and extremism”.

A Saudi official cited by SPA said the country decided to “sever
diplomatic and consular ties with Qatar, and to close all land, sea
and aviation ports”.
The “decisive” measure was due to “gross violations committed by
authorities in Qatar over the past years”, the Saudi statement said.

The UAE followed suit in cutting ties, and Egypt’s foreign ministry
also accused Doha of supporting “terrorism” as it announced the
severing of diplomatic relations.
The statement said all Egyptian ports and airports would be closed to
Qatari vessels and planes.

Bahrain’s news agency said the tiny kingdom was cutting ties with Doha
over its insistence on “shaking the security and stability of Bahrain
and meddling in its affairs”.
A few hours later, Yemen’s internationally recognised government also
announced it was severing 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 militas and
supporting extremist groups became clear,” the government said in a
statement.
The Saudi-led Arab coalition fighting rebels in Yemen’s two-year war
meanwhile said it was expelling Qatar over what it said was the
country’s support for organisations including Al Qaeda and the Islamic
State group.

Doha has long faced accusations that it is a state sponsor of terror.
It has been criticised in some quarters for its support of rebel
groups fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Qatari
individuals have also been sanctioned by the US Treasury for
terror-funding activities.

In recent weeks, Qatar has been accused outright of terror funding in
articles that have appeared in the American media.
It was also criticised for providing a sanctuary to former Hamas chief
Khaled Meshaal, who earlier this month used his Doha base – where he
has lived in exile for several years – to launch a new policy
document.
The Afghan Taliban opened an office in Doha in 2013.

Qatar, which will host the 2022 football World Cup, is a member of the
US-led coalition to defeat the Islamic State group.
The country is also home to the Al-Udeid airbase, where the US
conducts all coalition air operations for the region.

– SOURCE: (FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)

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