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Leading Arab states sever ties with Qatar

China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-06 07:09

CAIRO - Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, the internationally recognized government of Yemen, Libya and Maldives severed their ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting "terrorism" and financing "groups" linked to Iran, opening up the worst rift in years among some of the most powerful states in the Arab world.

China hopes the countries involved will solve the dispute through dialogue and consultation, maintain unity and promote regional peace and stability, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Monday.

The Kremlin said on Monday that it is in Russia's interest to have a "stable and peaceful" situation in the Gulf, adding it also hopes that the diplomatic row will not affect "the common determination and resolve" in the joint fight against "international terrorism".

Announcing the decision on Monday to cut diplomatic relations with Qatar, Saudi Arabia also accused its fellow Gulf Arab state of interfering in its internal affairs.

Riyadh was also cutting land, air and sea contact with Doha, media reports said.

Bahrain accused Qatar of backing terrorism and interfering in its internal affairs, according to a statement carried by its official news agency.

The UAE said it will "sever relations with Qatar, including diplomatic relations, and the country's diplomatic mission has a grace period of 48 hours to leave the country".

The UAE has taken these steps "as a result of the failure of the Qatari authorities" to stop funding "terrorist organizations ... especially the Muslim Brotherhood", it said.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which has been outlawed in Egypt, is labeled a terrorist organization in the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

The UAE and Qatar are both members of the six-country Gulf Cooperation Council, to which Saudi Arabia and Bahrain also belong. Founded in 1981, the GCC is a leading political and economic block in the Arab world.

Egypt also announced its decision to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday.

Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on accusations of supporting terrorist organizations, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said.

The statement added Qatar is sheltering the leaders of the Brotherhood who have targeted the security and safety of Egypt by conducting terrorist attacks.

Ties between Egypt and Qatar have been deteriorating since the ouster of the Egyptian Islamist-affiliated leader Mohammed Morsi in 2013 after mass protests against his rule.

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