UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain Cut Relations With Fellow Gulf State Qatar Over Terrorism Concerns

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt have broken diplomatic relations with Qatar over what they say is the country’s support of terrorism.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani take part in a bilateral meeting at a hotel in Riyadh on May 21, 2017. (Credit: Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images)

Bahrain’s foreign ministry issued a statement Monday saying it was suspending diplomatic relations “in order to preserve its national security.”

Qatari diplomats had 48 hours to leave the kingdom, and airspace and ports between the countries would be closed within 24 hours of Bahrain’s announcement, it said.

Bahrain said its decision was based on what it said was Qatar’s destabilizing actions.

“Based on the insistence of the State of Qatar to continue to destabilize the security and stability of the Kingdom of Bahrain, to interfere in its affairs, to continue the escalation and incitement of the media, and supporting armed terrorist activities, and financing groups associated with Iran to subvert and spread chaos in Bahrain in flagrant violation of all agreements and the principles of international law without regard to values, law, morals, consideration of the principles of good neighborliness, or commitment to the constants of Gulf relations, and the denial of all previous commitments.”

Saudi Arabia’s official Saudi State News Agency quoted an official source as saying it was cutting relations and closing land, sea and air ports with Qatar to protect “its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism.”

The agency said the Saudi government would also reach out to its allies “and start the immediate legal procedures for understanding with fraternal and friendly countries and international companies to implement the same procedure as soon as possible for all means of transport to and from the State of Qatar, for reasons related to Saudi national security.”

In a statement, Egypt said that Qatar had taken an “anti-Egyptian course” and that Cairo had been unable to dissuade it from supporting terrorism.