Riyadh : Middle East countries Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt on Monday decided to cut diplomatic ties to Qatar accusing its Gulf Arab neighbour of supporting extremism and undermining regional stability. This escalated rift between oil-rich nations.
Saudi Press Agency, the official state news agency of Saudi Arabia, citing an official source, said Saudi Arabia had decided to sever 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."
Bahrain's Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement early today 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 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 United Arab Emirates cut ties and gave diplomats 48 hours to leave the country, citing their "support, funding and embrace of terrorist, extremist and sectarian organisations", WAM said.
Egypt accused Qatar of supporting "terrorist" organisations including the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's state news agency reported.