Four Arab nations sever ties with Qatar; oil prices rise with the move
The Dollar Business Bureau
Four Arab nations - Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced on Monday that they were cutting off diplomatic relations with Qatar, as the tensions intensify in the region over allegations that the country is sponsoring terrorism.
The rift started between Qatar and the Arab nations after Doha in May alleged that the hackers took over its government run news agency and fake comments have been published from its Emir with regards to Iran and Israel. At that time, these four nations had blocked all media from Qatar, including Al-Jazeera.
The four nations also announced that within next few days, they would withdraw their diplomatic missions from Doha. The countries have cut off all sea and air movement to the gas rich nation.
The first nation to severe ties, Bahrain had accused Doha of supporting terrorism activities ‘at all levels’ and for interfering in its internal matters. The country said that it will withdraw its diplomatic mission from Doha within 48 hours. Its state news agency, Bahrain News Agency (BNA), stated that Bahrain would sever its ports and territorial waters to shipping and air traffic and airspace between the nations within 24 hours.
Soon after Bahrain, Saudi Arabia announced to cut off its diplomatic ties with Qatar. According to Saudi news agency SPA, the Kingdom is cutting diplomatic relations and closing borders with its neighbouring country in order to “protect its national security from the dangers of extremism and terrorism”.
SPA, citing a Saudi official stated that the country has decided to cut diplomatic and consular relations with Doha and close all land, aviation and sea ports.
The UAE and Egypt followed suit in severing ties with Qatar, with UAE saying that Doha is “destabilising security of the region,” while the foreign ministry of Egypt accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and announced the cutting off of diplomatic ties.
Qatar, for long, has been facing accusations that it is sponsoring terrorism. It has also been criticised by some quarters for supporting the rebel groups that are fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and sanctions have been laid down against Qatari nationals by the US Treasury for funding terror activities.
The country was also criticised to provide a sanctuary to Khaled Meshaal, former chief Hamas, who last month used the Doha base for launching a new policy document.
Qatar is going to host the FIFA World Cup 2022 and is a member of US-led coalition for defeating the Islamic State (IS) group.
Oil prices surged after the coordinated move by these nations against Qatar, which is the largest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and also a key producer of condensate, which is a low-density liquid fuel and a refining product extracted from natural gas.
Global benchmark Brent crude moved up 1.1% to $50.48 per barrel. US oil also jumped 1% to $48.17.