Libya, Yemen and Maldives have joined Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Bahrain in severing diplomatic relations with Qatar on Monday, Reuters and AP reported. The Gulf state was accused of supporting militant groups and interfering in other countries’ affairs. In response, Qatar called the four Arab nations’ decision a ‘violation of its sovereignty,’ and vowed to its citizens that the decision will not affect them, reported AP.
“The Qatari Government will take all necessary measures to ensure this and to thwart attempts to influence and harm the Qatari society and economy,” Doha’s statement said. The dispute between Qatar and other Gulf countries started after the Qatar’s state run news agency was hacked recently, reported Al-Jazeera.
Bahrain was the first country to sever diplomatic ties with Qatar early on Monday morning. The country accused Doha of interfering in its internal affairs and severed air and sea connections with the capital. A state run news agency also issued a statement asking Qatari citizens to leave the country within 14 days. Doha was accused of meddling in Manama’s internal affairs and supporting militant outfits.
A similar announcement was issued by Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, citing “protection of national security”. All ties with Doha were severed and land, sea and air contacts were closed off, according to Reuters.
Egypt was next to severe diplomatic ties with Doha, according to Sputnik news agency. UAE’s state run news agency WAM reported the United Arab Emirates too had decided to cut ties with Qatar. Diplomats were given 48 hours to leave the country, reported CNBC.
Libya’s eastern-based government’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Dayri announced the decision without an explanation, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways announced the suspension of its airlines to and from Doha from Tuesday morning, until further notice, reported Reuters. The airline’s spokesman said the last flight from UAE to Doha will depart at 2.45 am (local time) on Tuesday.
On May 23, Qatar’s news agency was reportedly hacked. A statement issued by the Qatar government had read, “The Qatar News Agency (QNA) website has been hacked by an unknown entity. A false statement attributed to His Highness has been published.” The incident came days after US President Donald Trump met Gulf Arab leaders in Riyadh .