Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Bahrain Cut Diplomatic Ties with Qatar

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt each announced Monday the cutting of diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

The countries made the separate moves in short succession, saying they would withdraw their diplomatic staff from Qatar and cut air and sea traffic to the country.

Saudi Arabia, which leads a coalition of nations fighting in support of Yemen’s government, also said Qatar’s forces would be withdrawn from that fight.

The Saudi state-owned SPA news agency said Qatar “embraces multiple terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at disturbing stability in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS and al-Qaida, and promotes the message and schemes of these groups through their media constantly.”

Qatar’s Foreign Affairs Ministry called the measures unjustified and a violation of its sovereignty.The country has in the past denied supporting terrorism.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he does not expect Monday’s actions to have an impact on the fight against terrorism in the region or globally.¬† He urged all of the parties to sit down and address their disagreements and said the U.S. thinks it is important for the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council to remain unified.

“I think what we’re witnessing is a growing list of some irritants in the region that have been there for some time, and obviously they have now bubbled up to a level that countries decided they needed to take action in an effort to have those differences addressed.”

The U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Dana Shell Smith also shared messages on Twitter Monday that she and her embassy’s account originally wrote in October 2016 expressing U.S. support for Qatari efforts to combat terrorist financing.

The U.S. military’s Central Command maintains a large presence at the al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

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