Qatar minister calls for calm as diplomatic crisis spirals

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing the Gulf state of supporting and financing "terrorism" as well as interfering in their internal affairs.

And there have been several countries - Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, and I understand one or two others which have cut off diplomatic relations today.

Qatar's local World Cup organising committee and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC, ) which organises worldwide matches in the region, both declined to comment.

It also follows weeks of rising tensions between Doha and its neighbors, including Qatari accusations of a concerted media campaign against the kingdom and the alleged hacking of its official news agency.

The Gulf states and Egypt said they were severing ties and closing transport links with Qatar, which relies on imports from its neighbours.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain on Monday asked Qatari diplomats to leave their countries within 48 hours and Qatari citizens within 14 days.

The tiny state's newly expanded port facilities mean it can continue liquefied natural gas exports that earned it a trade surplus of US$2.7 billion in April, and import by sea goods that used to come over its land border with Saudi Arabia, now closed.

Shoppers piled trollies and baskets high and shelves were stripped of essentials such as milk, rice and chicken.

"A potential risk to monitor might be that Qatar will view this as being provided with less encouragement to comply with the agreed production quota", said Jameel Ahmad of futures brokerage FXTM.

Saudi Arabia had chose to sever diplomatic and consular relations with Qatar "proceeding from the exercise of its sovereign right guaranteed by Global law and the protection of national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism".

"The measures are unjustified and are based on claims and allegations that have no basis in fact", Al Jazeera quoted the foreign ministry as saying. The Qatar Stock Exchange fell more than 7 percent in trading Monday.

UAE carriers Emirates, Etihad, flydubai and Air Arabia, as well as Saudi Airlines announced the suspension of all flights to and from Qatar as of Tuesday morning.

The Saudi-led coalition battling Iran-backed rebels in Yemen said it had expelled Qatar from the group for providing "support to (terrorist) organisations" there.

It dramatically escalates a dispute over Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies may have felt emboldened by Trump's visit, which saw the new president clearly align U.S. interests with Riyadh and lash out at Iran.

In the middle of the current rift with Saudi, Krdli said Qatar is also "obliged" to maintain "a middle position" with Iran because of its shared gas exploration in the Gulf.

Many in Qatar expressed shock over the sudden crisis, especially since it came during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani meets US President Donald Trump in May.

Doha denied the comments and denounced a "shameful cybercrime".

That huge base is a big part of the ISIS war, and some analysts are warning this could be a huge problem for the U.S. war effort that Qatar is suddenly being vilified by its neighbors, suggesting Qatar's lack of hostility toward Iran, another thing the Saudis are complaining about, might ultimately mean they'll align with Iran.

  • Leroy Wright