Maldives backs Saudi Arabia, cuts diplomatic ties with Qatar
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Bahrain have accused Qatar of supporting terrorism. Photograph: (Reuters)
The Maldives said on Monday it was severing diplomatic ties with Qatar, following a coordinated move by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, who accused the Gulf state of supporting terrorism.
"The Maldives took the decision because of its firm opposition to activities that encourage terrorism and extremism," the government of the Indian Ocean archipelago nation said in a statement.
Qatar Airways has cancelled flights to Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates today (Others)
With the crisis escalating, Qatar Airways cancelled flights to Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates today until further notice, the airline said on its website, a day after it had suspended flights to Saudi Arabia.
The airline said passengers holding a confirmed Qatar Airways ticket to any of the four countries between June 5 and July 6 are permitted to rebook their flights up to 30 days after their current departure date.
Qatar Airways said its offices will continue to operate as normal in affected countries until further notice.
On Monday, Egypt Air, Fly Dubai and Bahrain's Gulf Air joined Etihad and Emirates in saying they would suspend all flights to and from Doha.
Gulf Arab states and Egypt have long resented Qatar's support for Islamists, especially the Muslim Brotherhood which they regard as a dangerous political enemy.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman had been due to visit the island chain of 400,000 people on a month-long tour of Asia this year, but postponed the trip due to an outbreak of flu there.
The Maldives government said in March a planned multi-billion dollar, Saudi-funded investment project on one of its atolls would focus on high-end tourism, and rejected opposition claims that the islands would be sold to the government of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has broken diplomatic relations and all land sea and air contacts with fellow Gulf Arab state Qatar, saying the move was necessary to protect the kingdom from what it described as terrorism and extremism (WION)