Dubai, Jun 5: Seven countries, led by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on Monday severed ties with Qatars, accusing it of backing terrorism and opening up a rift among some of the most powerful Arab states that could have repercussions for the Indian economy and expatriates.
Bahrain's Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement early on Monday saying it would withdraw its diplomatic mission from the Qatari capital of Doha within 48 hours and that all Qatari diplomats should leave Bahrain within the same period.
The ministry's statement said that "Qatari citizens needed to leave Bahrain within two weeks and that air and sea traffic between the two countries would be halted. It wasn't immediately clear how that would affect Qatar Airways, one of the region's major long-haul carriers."
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. Qatar had no immediate comment.
The Saudis said the move was made for the protection of national security. The official Saudi news agency said that the country had decided to sever ties 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.
Etihad suspends flights to Qatar
Etihad Airways said on Monday it would suspend flights to Qatar after the United Arab Emirates was among major Gulf states to sever ties with Doha in an unprecedented regional crisis.
Etihad said that flights would stop today after the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain said they would cut all air, land and sea links with Qatar within 24 hours. Etihad, which operates four return flights to Doha daily, said the measure will be in place until further notice. Other carriers from the three Gulf countries, including Dubai's Emirates, are likely to announce similar measures.Qatar denounces 'unjustified' cut of Gulf ties.
Qatar denounces 'unjustified' cut of Gulf ties
Meanwhile, Qatar slammed the decisions of three Gulf states and Egypt to sever ties with it, saying they were unjustified and aimed to put Doha under political guardianship. "The measures are unjustified and are based on false and baseless claims," the Qatari foreign ministry said in a statement, referring to the unprecedented steps taken by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. "The aim is clear, and it is to impose guardianship on the state. This by itself is a violation of its sovereignty as a state," it added.
Qatar Airways suspends all flights to Saudi Arabia
Qatar Airways said on its official website on Monday that it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia.
The move came after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed their ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting terrorism and opening up the worst rift in years among some of the most powerful states in the Arab world.