Mideast countries cut ties with Qatar

The crisis is the worst to hit Gulf Arab nations since the creation in 1981 of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) grouping Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. Airlines suspended flights and residents nervous about the peninsula's lone land border closing cleaned out grocery store shelves.

Sheikh Sabah later called Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and "urged him for restraint and not to take any measure that could escalate" the situation.

It also followed weeks of rising tensions between Doha and its neighbours, including Qatari accusations of a concerted media campaign against it and the alleged hacking of its official news agency.

Stock markets in Dubai and several other Gulf centres fell on Monday - although not by almost as much as Qatar - in a sign that investors around the region were anxious.

In a statement, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said Egypt made a decision to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in light of the Gulf Arab state's persistence to take a path against Egypt, and the failure of any attempts to prevent it from supporting terrorist organizations, topped by the Muslim Brotherhood.

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The host of the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East, Qatar is suddenly facing hostility from all of its neighbors in the GCC, centering around long-standing disputes about Qatar's lack of hostility toward the Muslim Brotherhood and its state media not always towing the Saudi line on regional policy. It did not elaborate.

Further, Qatar's willingness to welcome organisations such as Hamas, which Washington brands a terrorist group, and the Taliban, which has fought U.S. forces in Afghanistan for more than 15 years, allows contacts with such groups when needed.

The Saudi-led coalition battling Iran-backed rebels in Yemen said it had expelled Qatar from the group for providing "support to (terrorist) organisations" there. Western officials also have accused Qatar of allowing or even encouraging funding of Sunni extremists like al-Qaida's branch in Syria, once known as the Nusra Front.

The Gulf states banned their citizens from travelling to Qatar and ordered Qatari citizens to leave within 14 days.

Qatar, home to the Al Jazeera news network, also plays a role in negotiating with groups that many governments keep distance from.

Saudi and allies cut Qatar ties in diplomatic crisis
Qatar's Al Udeid Air Base hosts 11,000 American personnel and is one of Washington's largest military bases in the Middle East. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the move was rooted in longstanding differences and urged the parties to resolve them.

The nations also said they planned to cut air and sea traffic.

Saudi Arabia closed its land border with Qatar, through which the tiny Gulf nation imports most of its food, sparking a run on supermarkets.

But parts of Qatar's economy could suffer badly if the dispute, over Riyadh's allegations that Doha has been supporting terrorism, drags on for months - a prospect that helped to push the Qatari stock market down more than 7 percent on Monday.

On Monday, EgyptAir, flydubai and Bahrain's Gulf Air joined Etihad and Emirates in saying they would suspend all flights to and from Doha. On its website, the carrier said the suspension of its flights would take effect Tuesday and customers are being offered a refund.

The route between Doha, Qatar and Dubai is popular among business travelers and both are major transit hubs for travelers between Asia and Europe.

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