Egypt cuts diplomatic ties with Qatar

The Arab Gulf nations (source: Al Jazeera)

Egypt has joined the rest of the Arab Gulf nations to severe ties with Qatar over what they termed as “Qatar’s support for terrorism”.

Also, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Maldives and Bahrain have in the same manner severed relations with the small Gulf country. However, Kuwait and Oman, also members of the Gulf Cooperation Council are yet to break ties with Qatar. According to the Kuwait News Agency, KUN, the Emir of Kuwait has sent out a strong message to Qatar’s Emir urging him to exercise “self-restraint and refrain from steps that would escalate the situation”.

According to CNN, this is coming two weeks after a media report emerged with comments allegedly made by Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Hamad Al Thani. Al Thani in which he reportedly hailed Iran as an “Islamic power” and criticized US President Donald Trump’s policy towards Tehran. The World were not in doubt of the source of the comments as they were reported by the Qatar’s official media Agency. However, the Doha authorities  quickly denounced the media report saying the News Agency’s website was hacked by some unknown persons.

According to Reuters, Qatari visitors and residents have been given two weeks to leave their countries by Egypt. Saudi Arabia on its part has closed its border with Qatar (the only land border Qatar has) and halted air and sea traffic with Qatar, urging “all brotherly countries and companies to do the same”.

Speaking on the bans, Al Jazeera reports that Qatar’s foreign ministry said it regretted the measures by the Arab nations, calling the decisions “unjustified”. “The measures are unjustified and are based on claims and allegations that have no basis in fact,” the statement said, adding that the decisions would “not affect the normal lives of citizens and residents”.

“The aim is clear, and it is to impose guardianship on the state. This by itself is a violation of its [Qatar’s] sovereignty as a state,” it added.

In a reactionary development, Dubai-based Emirates Airlines and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad have announced they will stop all flight operations to and from Qatar. It is expected that other airlines within the affected countries will also do same.