Saudi Arabia and other Arab powers severed diplomatic ties Monday with Qatar and moved to isolate the energy-rich nation that is home to a major USA military base, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups and backing Iran. On Monday morning, USA secretary of state Rex Tillerson told reporters at a press conference in Sydney that the breakdown in relations would not slow down the fight on Islamic State.
NPR's David Welna, who is traveling with Tillerson and Mattis, notes that the rift among US allies "comes just 10 days after President Trump addressed an anti-terrorism summit of Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia, and some see Trump's siding there with Sunni monarchs and his rhetoric against Iran as having given a kind of green light to blackballing this Gulf nation".
Stressing that this is an "internal issue" of the GCC countries, Swaraj said the only worry is about Indian nationals who may be caught in between the rival countries, as they have put travel bans on Qatar. Billions are invested, a new airport and in making Qatar Airways a five-star airline connecting the world through Doha.
In one store queues were up to 25-people deep as shoppers piled trollies and baskets high with supplies from rice to nappies.
"It's a cycle of panic and I needed to get pasta", he said, as he shopped with his young family - pushing not one but two trollies.
Doha has also decided not to retaliate against its neighbours' moves, he said. Doha-based satellite news network Al-Jazeera reported trucks carrying food had begun to line up on the Saudi side of the border, apparently stranded.
Saudi Arabia, however, is not an IASTA member country and can legally shut Qatar Airways out of its airspace.
"The measures are unjustified and are based on false and baseless claims", Qatar said.More news: Continuing the climate battle, without the US
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The Qatar Stock Exchange tumbled eight percent on opening and eventually closed down 7.58 percent.
Etihad, Emirates, Fly Dubai and Gulf Air said Monday they would halt all flights in and out of Doha starting Tuesday morning.
Saudi Arabia and three Arab countries severed ties to Qatar yesterday and moved to cut off land, sea and air routes to the energy-rich nation that is home to a major USA military base, accusing it of supporting regional terror groups.
Qatar Airways was not immediately available for comment.
Qatari planes were banned from landing in UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabian and Egyptian airports and banned from crossing their airspace.
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.
The foreign minister pointed to the campaign that was aimed at Qatar in Western capitals and the United States, expressing regret that some GCC ambassadors are carrying out a campaign of incitement and distortion of Qatar's reputation contrary to the basic charter of GCC and the social cord between GCC states.
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies may have felt emboldened by Trump's visit, which saw the new president clearly align United States interests with Riyadh and lash out at Iran.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave a statement on Monday while on a state visit in Australia, urging the Persian Gulf states to stay united. The country has only around 2.7m citizens, but is the world's biggest producer of liquefied natural gas, sharing a vast underwater field with Iran.