Srinagar: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) severed ties with Qatar on Monday after accusing the nation of supporting ‘terrorism’, media reports said.
The dispute between Qatar and its neighbouring countries began after the former alleged in May that hackers took over its state-run news agency and published fake comments from its ruling Emir regarding Iran and Israel. The other four countries had, at the time, responded by blocking all Qatari-based media, including Al-Jazeera.
The four countries announced that they would withdraw their respective diplomatic missions from Qatar, within the next few days. The nations have also cut off all air and sea movement to the peninsular country.
Bahrain, the first country to cut ties with gas-rich Qatar, accused it of backing terrorism ‘at all levels’ and interfering in its internal affairs. It said its diplomatic mission will be withdrawn from Doha, the capital of Qatar, within 48 hours. It directed all Qatari diplomats to leave Bahrain within the same period, after completion of all necessary procedures. The country’s official news agency, Bahrain News Agency, added that Bahrain would cut off its airspace, ports and territorial waters to air traffic and shipping between the counties within 24 hours. The government has banned its citizens from travelling to Qatar or from staying there. Qatari residents and visitors have been given 14 days to leave the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia, which soon after announced that it was breaking off diplomatic relations with Qatar, said the move was initiated to “protect its Kingdom from terrorism and extremism”. Its official news agency stated it would cut diplomatic and consular relations with Qatar “proceeding from the exercise of its sovereign right guaranteed by international law and the protection of national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism”. Saudi Arabia cut all land air and sea contacts with Qatar “and urges all brotherly countries and companies to do the same.”
Saudi has also said Qatari troops would be expelled from the on-going war in Yemen. The Saudi-led Arab coalition has been involved in the war for the last two years.
Shortly after, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates announced they would be ending diplomatic ties with Qatar. Egypt accused Qatar of backing terrorism groups, while UAE said it is “destabilising security of the region.” (Courtesy the Indian Express)