Bahrain cuts diplomatic ties to Qatar as Gulf rift deepens

Posted June 05, 2017

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.

Etihad Airways, the UAE's flag carrier, said it would suspend flights to and from Qatar beginning Tuesday morning.

Qatar had no immediate comment.

But tensions appeared to increase, nevertheless.

In a brief news conference following the meeting, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said they wanted to strengthen bilateral ties, expand their counterterrorism efforts under the auspices of a new Saudi anti-terrorism center and work with U.S. President Donald Trump, who recently attended a summit in Riyadh. It wasn't clear if the decision would affect American military operations.

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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.

A Saudi official cited by SPA said the country chose to "sever diplomatic and consular ties with Qatar, and to close all land, sea and aviation ports".

The dispute between Qatar and the Gulf's Arab countries started over a purported hack of Qatar's state-run news agency. Its Gulf Arab neighbors responded with anger, blocking Qatari-based media, including the Doha-based satellite news network Al-Jazeera.

"Imam Khomeini said the same thing more than 30 years ago", Khamenei said at the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, marking the 1989 death of the founder of the Islamic Republic.Relations with Washington were broken after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution and enmity to the United States has always been a rallying point for hardline supporters of Khamenei in Iran. The chief worry among them is the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist political group outlawed by both Saudi Arabia and the UAE as it challenges the nations' hereditary rule.

Relations have always been strained between Qatar and regional emirates and Saudi Arabia, a close ally of Bahrain and the United States.

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The three Gulf states gave Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave their countries. However, the 2014 crisis did not see a land and sea blockade as threatened now.

Bahrain said it broke relations "on the insistence of the state of Qatar to continue destabilizing the security and stability of the Kingdom of Bahrain and to intervene in its affairs".

Global oil prices rose 1.24 percent to $50.57 a barrel in early trading Monday in Asia amid the Gulf diplomatic crisis.

The Saudi-led Arab coalition has been involved in the war for the last two years. Since the meeting, unrest in the region has grown. Doha denies the emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, made the comments.

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