The government of Maldives has severed diplomatic ties with Qatar after Gulf states Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt on Monday cut ties with the country over accusations it supports extremism.
Announcing the move, Maldivian foreign ministry said: “Maldives took the decision because of its firm opposition to activities that encourage terrorism and extremism.”
The ministry also said that Maldives has always pursued a policy of promoting peace and stability in the Middle East, and reiterated its commitment “to work with countries that promote peace, stability, and show solidarity in the fight against terrorism”.
Maldives established diplomatic relations with Qatar on May 26, 1984.
Qatar denounces 'unjustified' cut of Gulf ties
Meanwhile, denouncing the Gulf states’ decisions Qatar said the measures were unjustified and based on false and baseless claims.
"The aim is clear, and it is to impose guardianship on the state. This by itself is a violation of its (Qatar's) sovereignty as a state," Qatar’s foreign ministry said.
The host of the football World Cup 2022 said it has been subjected to an "incitement campaign based on fabrications, which reflects an intention to harm Qatar".
Doha insisted the sanctions, which include the Gulf states severing air, land and sea links with Qatar, "will not affect the daily life of citizens and residents".
"The Qatari government will take all measures necessary... to foil attempts to affect or harm Qatar's society and economy," the statement said.
Qatar has land borders with Saudi Arabia and is separated by Gulf waters from nearby Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Sanctions against Qatar
The measures taken by the Gulf states against Qatar are the following:
- Immediately cutting diplomatic ties with Doha, with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates ordering Qatari diplomats to leave within 48 hours.
This is a first since 2014, when Gulf countries recalled their ambassadors from Doha, ostensibly over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
- Closing air space and maritime territories in the three countries to Qatari flights and shipments, and suspending air and sea links with Doha within 24 hours.
UAE carriers Emirates, Etihad, flydubai and Air Arabia, as well as Saudi Airlines, have said they will halt flights to and from Doha starting from Tuesday morning.
- The three Gulf states have banned their citizens from travelling to Qatar.
- Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have also ordered Qatari citizens -- visitors and residents -- to leave within 14 days.
This measure goes against a Gulf Cooperation Council agreement on equal rights of movement and residency for all citizens of its member states.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar are all members of the GCC.
- Saudi Arabia has closed its borders with Qatar, effectively blocking food and other supplies exported by land to Qatar.
- Only Qatari pilgrims can travel to Saudi Arabia to visit Islam's holiest sites.