Iranian Official: Severing ties with Qatar not a solution to crisis

The five main UAE and Bahraini airlines are halting flights to Doha as a diplomatic row escalates between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen and states threaten to close their airspace to Qatar airlines.

The diplomatic crisis between Qatar and four Arab states could have significant implications on energy supplies in the region as the market waits to see how Doha reacts to measures disrupting its economy.

In the past, the Egyptian government hasn't joined diplomatic action against Qatar due to the risk of repercussions relating to Egyptian nationals working in that Gulf state.

Earlier, oil prices rose amid the diplomatic tension with Qatar.

Gulf Air, the national carrier of Bahrain, said its Doha service would also be suspended until further notice. However the country is heavily dependent on its land border with Saudi Arabia for imports of poultry and dairy products. Sentiment deteriorated further after data from industry group Baker Hughes on Friday showed USA oil drillers adding 11 more active rigs in the week ended June 2.

Saudi Arabia has also shut down the offices of broadcaster Al-Jazeera, the Global broadcaster headquartered in Qatar, and instructed Saudi employees to resign, according to the MSDAR News Agency.

Saudi Arabia maintains close ties with neighbor Bahrain and helped the Sunni monarchy there put down an Arab Spring uprising in 2011.

The tiny island nation of Bahrain blamed Qatar's "media incitement, support for armed terrorist activities and funding linked to Iranian groups to carry out sabotage and spreading chaos in Bahrain" for its decision.

The key problem was that these comments simply voiced out loud what many have long understood as Qatar's true policy positions. The countries also said they would eject Qatar's diplomats.

Qatar has long faced criticism from its Arab neighborrs over its support of Islamists and alleged attempts to destabilize other states.

Qatar's Foreign Ministry called the measures "unjustified" in a statement and said the decision to sever ties was a violation of the country's sovereignty, and "based on claims and allegations that have no basis in fact".

The government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi says it severed ties with Qatar in part over is support of extremist groups in Yemen "in contradiction with the goals announced by the countries supporting the legitimate government".

"We certainly would encourage the parties to sit down together and address these differences", he said in Sydney.

The move came just weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia and vowed to improve ties with both Riyadh and Cairo to combat regional terror groups and contain Iran.

The news agency released a statement in which it accused Qatar of "harbouring a multitude of terrorist and sectarian groups that aim to create instability in the region".

However, eight months later they returned their ambassadors as Qatar forced some Brotherhood members to leave the country.

It is overwhelmingly Sunni, and Wahhabi - or Salafi as it's also known - branch of Sunni Islam is the official state-sponsored religion. Since the meeting, unrest in the region has grown.

Trump nevertheless met with Qatar's emir during the Saudi conference last month. "Our relationship is extremely good".

"We have no further comments for the time being".

  • Zachary Reyes