RIYADH — Saudi Arabia has severed all ties with the State of Qatar in the latest developments of Doha’s widening rift with its Gulf neighbors, a statement from Saudi Press Agency said.
Bahrain had earlier announced that it was cutting all ties with Qatar. Following Saudi Arabia’s decision, the United Arab Emirates has also announced it is severing all ties with Qatar. Joining these three GCC states, Egypt too decided to sever all diplomatic relations with Qatar.
Saudi Arabia has closed all of its borders with the country, including the land border it shares with Qatar. Qatari citizens were given 14 days to leave Saudi Arabia following the severing of ties. For security purposes, Qatari citizens are also not allowed to enter or transit in Saudi Arabia.
The Kingdom also instructed Saudi citizens to not travel, stay or transit in Qatar. Saudi citizens and visitors currently in Qatar have been asked to leave the country in no more than 14 days.
A source in Saudi Arabia said, “Riyadh had taken the decision as part of exercising its rights governed by international laws and its national security in order to thwart the dangers of terrorism and extremism.”
Saudi Arabia has also decided to close all land, sea and airports and to ban crossing its land, air and regional waters. “They have begun negotiations with friendly countries and international companies to apply the same procedure as quickly as possible for all means of transport from and to Qatar for reasons related to Saudi national security,” the source said.
Saudi Arabia has taken this decisive decision as a result of the serious violations committed by authorities in Qatar in the past years “with the aim of creating strife among Saudi internal ranks, undermining its sovereignty and embracing various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilizing the region, including harboring Muslim Brotherhood, Daesh (so-called IS) and Al-Qaeda by means including instigations through its media channels.”
They are also promoting their ideology and plans through their media and supporting activities of terror groups backed by Iran in Qatif province, east of Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom of Bahrain, the source added.
“They have also financed, adopted and are harboring extremists who seek to destabilize unity at home and abroad. They have used the media that seeks to fan internal strife. Saudi Arabia has also been made aware that authorities in Doha have supported Houthi militias even after the declaration of the coalition to support the legitimate government in Yemen,” the source said.
Despite the severance of ties, Saudi Arabia, according to Al-Arabiya English, said it would provide all facilities and services needed by Qatari pilgrims currently in the Kingdom. The 14-day directive asking Qataris to leave does not affect Qatari pilgrims currently in the Kingdom.
Meanwhile, the UAE has given Qatar’s diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi 48 hours to leave the country after what it said where “Doha’s several policies which destabilizes the security and stability of the region and manipulates commitments”.
It also warned Qatari citizens they had 14 days to leave the UAE. Citizens from Qatar have also been banned from “even passing through the UAE”.
A statement on UAE’s official news agency WAM’s twitter account said, “Emiratis are now banned from visiting or even passing by Qatar at all means”.
Egypt too decided to sever all diplomatic relations with Qatar. A statement from the official spokesperson of Egypt Foreign Ministry said they took the decision on Monday “in light of the insistence of the Qatari government to take an anti-Egyptian stance and the failure of all attempts to dissuade it from supporting the terrorist organizations”.
Egypt accused the Qatari government of supporting especially the Muslim Brotherhood, which it has designated as terrorist.
“Qatar’s has promoted al-Qaeda’s ideology, and given support to Daesh and terrorist operations in the Sinai. Qatar’s has insisted on interfering in the internal affairs of Egypt and the countries of the region in a manner that threatens Arab national security and promotes the seeds of sedition and division within the Arab societies,” the statement read.
Egypt also declared that it would close its airspace and seaports with Qatar.