Major diplomatic rift sees nations cutting ties with Qatar

Ross Kinnaird

Ross Kinnaird

Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries severed ties to Qatar on Monday and moved to cut off land, sea and air routes to the energy-rich nation that is home to a major US military base, accusing it of supporting regional terror groups.

Borders have been closed between the countries and air and sea traffic has been suspended between the peninsular nation and a number of other states.

Despite the changes, Qatar's foreign ministry said on its site that the measures "will not affect the normal course of life of the citizens and residents" and the government will take all necessary steps "to thwart attempts to influence and harm the Qatari society and economy".

"Dialogue should be continued under all circumstances so the existing problems can be solved in a peaceful way", he said.

Qatar also has stakes on the Costa Smeralda and Qtar Airways has a 49% stake in Meridina, as well as part of food producer Inalca.

"Given the increasing integration with regional counterparts, this hits Qatar and its corporates hard", said Emad Mostaque, chief investment officer of emerging market hedge fund Capricorn Fund Managers Ltd.

Ties between Saudi Arabia, the bastion of Sunni Islam as well as a loyal ally of the White House, and Iran, the Shia power close to the Kremlin, have been broken since they support each other's enemies in proxy wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Warships of the US Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, in May 2007.

The Ministry said in a statement that regional solidarity was needed now more than ever, and that Turkey's utmost wish was that members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which plays an important role in ensuring regional peace, security and stability, could overcome their differences through dialogue.

Qatar is the smallest OPEC country in terms of both area and population, and had an estimated US$28 billion worth of petroleum exports in 2015.

In response to these allegations, on September 25, 2014, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, went on American television to defend his country against claims that it harbors terrorist financiers. Its Gulf Arab neighbors responded with anger, blocking Qatari-based media, including Al-Jazeera. More than a dozen HDP lawmakers have also been jailed, mostly due to suspected links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey. Trump and other USA officials participated in a traditional sword dance during the trip in which he called on Muslim countries to stand united against Islamist extremists and singled out Iran as a key source of funding and support for militant groups.

"There's going to be an immediate impact on some of the materials transported by road, and I think that probably includes quarried materials and precast [concrete] products - the heavier materials that don't come in by sea or by air".

"We have no further comments for the time being", it added.

Latest News