Saudi Arabian Airlines says suspends all flights to Qatar

Claudine Rigal
Juin 5, 2017

UAE national carrier Etihad Airways has announced that it will suspend all flights to and from Doha, Qatar, until further notice.

Saudi Arabia also said Qatari troops would be pulled from the ongoing war in Yemen.

The visit, which was part of Trump's maiden foreign trip, saw the new American head of state strike a $110 billion arms deal with the kingdom and - rather ironically-open a center in Riyadh to fight extremism.

The UAE's state news agency said in a statement that Qatar is "undermining regional stability", Reuters reports.

The countries noted they have planned to break off all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar and eject it's diplomats from their territories.

The Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad says it is suspending flights to Qatar amid a growing diplomatic rift.

With an estimated $335 billion of assets in its sovereign wealth fund, a trade surplus of $2.7 billion in April alone and extensive port facilities, Qatar appears likely to be able to ride out the impact without any economic crisis.

On May 27, Qatar's ruling emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, called Iranian President Hasan Rouhani to congratulate him on his re-election.

The UAE has imported on average 190,000 cubic metres of LNG per months from Qatar since January 2016. Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. accused Qatar of trying to undermine efforts to isolate the Islamic republic.

Saudi news agency SPA said Riyadh cut diplomatic ties and closed borders with its neighbour to "protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism".

USA secretary of state Rex Tillerson and defense secretary Jim Mattis said that they did not expect a decision by some Gulf countries to sever ties with Qatar to affect the fight against terrorism but urged them to address their differences.

The Bahrain blamed Qatar's "media provocation, support for armed terrorist activities and funding linked to Iranian groups to carry out sabotage and spreading havoc in Bahrain" for its decision.

Tillerson and US Defense Secretary James Mattis are in Sydney for talks with their Australian counterparts.

"While regretting the policies taken by the State of Qatar that sow seeds of sedition and discord among the region's countries, the UAE affirms its full respect and appreciation for the brotherly Qatari people on account of the profound historical, religious and fraternal ties and kin relations binding UAE and Qatari peoples".

"We certainly would encourage the parties to sit down together and address these differences".

Qatar later said the statements, which were posted on the state news agency, were fake and that the agency's website had been hacked.

"Qatar Airways has suspended all flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia until 23:59 UTC [GMT] on 05th June (02.59 Doha Time on 6th June)", the travel alert reads.

Some experts had feared the current situation could trigger a repeat of the crisis in 2014, when several Gulf countries recalled their ambassadors from Doha, ostensibly over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

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