Arab states cut Qatar ties in major diplomatic crisis

Gulf Arab states and Egypt have long resented Qatar's support for Islamists, especially the Muslim Brotherhood.

Saudi Arabia said Qatari troops would be pulled from its ongoing war in Yemen.

About 40% of Qatar's food is believed to come by lorry from its Gulf neighbour.

The countries all ordered their citizens out of Qatar and gave Qataris overseas 14 days to return home to their peninsular nation, whose only land border is with Saudi Arabia.

"As instructed by the UAE government, Emirates will suspend its flights to and from Doha, starting from the morning of June 6, until further notice". Doha-based satellite news network Al-Jazeera reported trucks carrying food had begun to line up on the Saudi side of the border, apparently stranded.

"At the moment there is nothing on Qatar issue, (we) will issue a statement if some development takes place", Zakaria said.

The key stock index in Doha slipped shortly after Monday's open - the benchmark's sharpest fall in more than seven years - before paring some its losses to trade down 7.2 percent at around 3:00 p.m. local time.

Saudi Arabia said it took the decision to cut diplomatic ties due to Qatar's "embrace of various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilizing the region" including the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida, the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) group and groups supported by Iran in the kingdom's restive Eastern Province.

"Intensifying tension in relations among the neighboring countries does not benefit the regional governments and people when the region and the world are suffering from consequences of terrorism and extremism", Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said.

"This certainly represents an unprecedented uptick in tensions within the GCC", the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, said Adam Baron, visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

Egypt, while relying heavily on Qatari LNG brought in by Swiss commodity trade houses, is less vulnerable than the UAE because it has no direct deals with Qatar, domestic gas output is squeezing out the need for imports, and traders would be liable for any moves by Qatar to restrict exports.

It was not clear what financial measures could be taken against Qatar, although some lenders in Egypt stopped accepting Qatari currency while others halted some treasury transactions, bankers told Reuters.

Based on data from the Foreign Affairs Department, there were 2,297,551 Filipinos working in the Middle East and Africa as of 2015.

Qatar denies funding extremist groups.

Nasser Al-Khater, a senior figure with Qatar's World Cup organising body, recently claimed that up to 1.3 million fans would visit Doha in 2022, the majority from the Gulf and "mainly from Saudi Arabia".

The dispute between Qatar and the Gulf's Arab countries started over a purported hack of Qatar's state-run news agency.

Some Egyptian banks stopped dealing with Qatari institutions, but Saudi and UAE banks said they had not made such a decision so far.

Last year, Maldives severed its 40-year-old diplomatic ties with Iran, saying the country's policies in the Middle East are detrimental to peace and security in the region. The coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, that is leading the fight against the Houthi rebels removed Qatar from its alliance because of its support for "al-Qaeda and Daesh, as well as dealing with the rebel militias" according to the Saudi Press Agency.

  • Zachary Reyes