Saudi bans all Qatari planes from its airports, airspace

Olive Rios
June 5, 2017

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways said it would suspend flights to Qatar from Tuesday. The Doha-based Al Jazeera was among the media outlets which were banned.

The Qatar Stock Exchange fell 7.65% amid the Gulf diplomatic crisis.

The move comes as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), of which Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar are members, recently agreed to extend crude oil production cuts in order to tighten the market and pop up prices.

The airline, also known as Saudia, posted on Twitter on Monday afternoon that it would be halting flights, without elaborating.

The fallout led to Qatar's expulsion from a Saudi-led coalition, which has been conducting a military aggression against Yemen since March 2015.

National Flag of Qatar.

Qatar is home to the sprawling al-Udeid Air Base, which is home to the forward headquarters of the USA military's Central Command.

Bahrain and Egypt announced on Monday to cut all diplomatic relations with fellow Gulf Arab state, Qatar, for allegedly supporting terrorism and extremism.

The Saudi state news agency Saudi Press Agency said Riyadh had closed its borders, severing land, sea and air contact with Qatar.

It accused Qatar of supporting what it described as Iranian-backed militants in its restive and largely Shi'ite Muslim-populated Eastern region of Qatif and in Bahrain. The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain, did not respond to a request for comment about whether the decision would affect its operations. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the move was rooted in longstanding differences and urged the parties to resolve them.

He encouraged Qatar and its neighbours to "sit down together", adding that Washington was ready for "any role that we can play" in helping to overcome divisions.

A low-priced airline based in the United Arab Emirates says it is suspending flights to Qatar along with other Emirati airlines over a growing diplomatic crisis.

President Muhammadu Buhari in a chat with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hammad Al-Thani at the Amiri Diwan (Emir's Office) in Doha, Qatar.

Doha has dismissed these allegations calling them a "shameful cybercrime" and stating the state news agency was hacked.

The Sunni-ruled Arab nations are unhappy with Qatar's ties to Shiite-ruled Iran. The countries say Qatar is supporting terrorist groups including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Muslim Brotherhood groups allied to Doha are now mostly on the backfoot in the region, especially after a 2013 military takeover in Egypt ousted the elected Islamist president.

"What Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egpyt have done is to isolate Qatar as much as possible and therefore put a lot of pressure on Qatar". Residents and visitors of those countries must leave Qatar within 14 days.

In the time since, Qatar repeatedly and strongly denied it funds extremist groups.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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