Thursday 19 April 2018

GCC ROW: Saudi, UAE, Bahrain cut off ties with Qatar

MANAMA, June 5, 2017

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt have has severed diplomatic relations with Qatar over security issues in a major row between members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Saudi news agency SPA said Riyadh cut diplomatic ties and closed borders with Qatar 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.
Bahrain’s action is “based on the insistence of Qatar to continue to undermine the security and stability of the Kingdom of Bahrain and to interfere in its domestic affairs, as well as on the escalation and incitement of its media and its support to acts of terror and to financing armed groups associated with Iran to carry out subversive attacks and spread chaos in the Kingdom” the BNA news agency said.

Bahrain is also withdrawing its diplomatic mission from Doha and giving all members of the Qatari diplomatic mission 48 hours to leave the Kingdom and the completion of the necessary procedures, the report said.

Bahrain is also closing its airspace, ports and territorial waters to air traffic and shipping to and from Qatar within 24 hours of the announcement of the statement.

Bahrain is also banning its citizens from travelling to Qatar or staying there, while Qatari citizens are not allowed to enter or pass through Bahrain.

Qatari residents and visitors are therefore given 14 days to leave the Kingdom in order to avoid any hostile attempts or activities that may exploit the situation, according to the report.

The dangerous Qatari practices have not been confined to the Kingdom of Bahrain, but have also been extended to sister countries that have been informed that such acts reflect a very dangerous pattern which cannot be ignored or accepted and must be addressed with full strength and firmness, the report said.

Egypt’s foreign ministry also accused Doha of supporting “terrorism” as it announced the severing of diplomatic relations.
The Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its deep regret at the decision of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain to close their borders and airspace and cut off diplomatic relations, said a report in The Peninsula newspaper.
Giving reasons for the action, Saudi Arabia said it has taken this decisive decision as a result of grave violations being committed by the authorities in Doha over the past years in secret and public aiming at dividing internal Saudi ranks, instigating against the state, infringing on its sovereignty, adopting various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilising the region including the Muslim Brotherhood Group, Daesh (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda, promoting the ethics and plans of these groups through its media permanently, supporting the activities of Iranian-backed terrorist groups in the governorate of Qatif of Saudi Arabia and in Bahrain, financing, adopting and sheltering extremists who seek to undermine the stability and unity of the homeland at home and abroad, and using the media that seek to fuel the strife internally. It was clear to the Saudi Arabia the support and backing from the authorities in Doha for coup by Al-Houthi militias even after the announcement of the Coalition to Support the Legitimacy in Yemen, a statement published on SAP site said.

The kingdom has also taken this decision in solidarity with Bahrain, being subjected to terrorist campaigns and operations supported by the authorities in Doha, it added.

Since 1995, Saudi Arabia and its brothers have made strenuous and continued efforts to urge the authorities in Doha to abide by its commitments and agreements, yet, they have repeatedly violated their international obligations and the agreements they signed under the umbrella of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for Arab States to cease the hostilities against the kingdom and stand against terrorist groups and activities of which the latest one was their failure to implement the Riyadh Agreement, the statement said.

In accordance with the decision to cut off diplomatic and consular relations, Saudi citizens are prohibited from travelling to Qatar, residing in or passing through it while they, residents and visitors have to leave its territories within 14 days, it said.

The decision, for security reasons, unfortunately prevents Qatari citizens' entry to or transit through Saudi Arabia and those Qatari residents and visitors have to leave Saudi territories within 14 days, confirming the kingdom's commitment and keenness to provide all facilities and services for Qatari pilgrims and Umrah performers, the statement added.

Saudi Arabia affirms that it has long been patient despite the fact that the authorities in Doha continue to evade their commitments and conspire against it. The kingdom will continue to support the people of Qatar, its security and stability regardless of the hostile practices being carried out by the authorities in Doha, it said.
Meanwhile, the Command of Coalition to Support the Legitimacy in Yemen announced that it has decided to end the participation of  Qatar in the coalition.
The Republic of Maldives too has announced its plans to severe all diplomatic ties with Qatar.
In a statement, the Maldives Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the country took this decision because of its firm opposition to activities that encourage terrorism and extremism.
The statement also reiterated the Maldives' commitment to work with countries that promote peace, stability, and show solidarity in the fight against terrorism.
The Maldives decision comes following the announcement of the Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen and Libya to sever their relations with Qatar.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters in Sydney on Monday that the spat would not affect the fight against Islamist militants and that Washington has encouraged its Gulf allies to resolve their differences.
The announcements come 10 days after President Donald Trump visited Riyadh to call on Muslim countries to stand united against Islamists extremists, and singling out Iran as a key source of funding and support for militant groups.
Muslim Brotherhood parties allied to Doha are now mostly on the backfoot in the region, especially after a 2013 military takeover in Egypt ousted the elected Islamist president.
The former army chief and now president, Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, along with the new government's allies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, blacklist the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation.
Egypt, the Arab world's most populous nation, said on its state news agency that Qatar's policy "threatens Arab national security and sows the seeds of strife and division within Arab societies according to a deliberate plan aimed at the unity and interests of the Arab nation."
Oil prices rose after the moves against Qatar.

Tags: Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | UAE |

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