A breaking news situation with enormous consequences also for international aviation is in progress in Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt. Countries are accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism and sectarianism.
According to news reports Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt have cut diplomatic ties and all land sea and air contacts with Qatar, accusing the Persian Gulf country of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs.
Qatar Airways is in stiff competition with UAE-based Emirates and Etihad Airways and offer frequent flights almost hourly between Qatar and the UAE.
Also the Saudi state news agency, citing an official source, said on Monday Riyadh “urges all brotherly countries and companies to do the same.”
The kingdom said it made the decision, “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.”
The decision comes after Qatar alleged in late May that hackers took over the site of its state-run news agency and published what it called fake comments from its ruling Emir about Iran and Israel. Its Gulf Arab neighbors responded with anger, blocking Qatari-based media, including the Doha-based satellite news network Al-Jazeera.
Bahrain’s foreign affairs ministry issued a statement early 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 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.
The UAE’s state news agency WAM reported the Emirates cut ties and gave diplomats 48 hours to leave the country, citing their “support, funding and embrace of terrorist, extremist and sectarian organisations”.
Egypt announced the closure of its airspace and seaports for all Qatari transportation to protect its national security.
Egypt cut ties with Qatar, accusing the Gulf Arab state of supporting “terrorist” organisations including the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s state news agency reported.