Saudi-Led Coalition Cuts Diplomatic Ties with Qatar, Shuts Down Access to Airspace

By Paul Riegler on 5 June 2017
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DSC_0410 (1)Five Arab countries – Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen – announced early Monday that they were breaking off diplomatic relations with Qatar over that country’s support for Islamist groups and its relationship with Iran.

The five nations also said that they would cut off air and sea traffic to Qatar as well as refuse Qatari aircraft access to their airspace, a move that, among others, would impede Qatar Airways’ ability to operate. The Saudi government also said it would shut down land crossings with its neighbor.

In order to continue operating, Qatar Airways would have to fly over Iran, Iraq and Jordan for flights to the Middle East or over Iran and Turkey for flights destined for Europe.

Qatar Airways did not respond immediately to a request for comment. Qatar’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling move “unjustified.”

The Saudi government said the move was to “protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism, and the United Arab Emirates accused Qatar of “supporting, funding and embracing terrorism, extremism and sectarian organisations.”

Officials in 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 accusations haven’t only come from Arab nations. Western officials have accused Qatar of similar activities including funding Sunni extremists such as al-Qaida in Syria.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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