DOHA, Qatar — Qatar on Monday slammed the decisions of three Gulf states to sever ties with it, saying they were “unjustified” and aimed to put Doha under political “guardianship.”
“The measures are unjustified and are based on false and baseless claims,” the Qatari foreign ministry said in a statement, referring to the unprecedented steps taken by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
“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,” it added.
The host of soccer’s 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.
Riyadh cut diplomatic relations and closed borders with its neighbor to “protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism,” the official Saudi Press Agency said.
A Saudi-led coalition which for more than two years has been fighting Iran-backed rebels in Yemen separately announced Qatar was no longer welcome in the alliance, accusing it of supporting terrorist organizations.
Qatar had assigned warplanes to the coalition conducting air strikes against Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
Also on Monday, Yemen’s internationally recognized government cut relations with Qatar, saying it supports the decision by the Saudi-led coalition to end Qatar’s participation in the war on the Houthis.
Qatar had participated in the coalition since March 2015.
The government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi said it severed ties with Qatar in part over is support of extremist groups in Yemen “in contradiction with the goals announced by the countries supporting the legitimate government.”
Earlier in the day, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Gulf states to stay united and work out their differences.
“We certainly would encourage the parties to sit down together and address these differences,” he said in Sydney.
“If there’s any role that we can play in terms of helping them address those, we think it is important that the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) remain united.”
Tillerson said despite the impasse, he did not expect it to have “any significant impact, if any impact at all, on the unified fight against terrorism in the region or globally.”
“All of those parties you mentioned have been quite unified in the fight against terrorism and the fight against Daesh, ISIS, and have expressed that most recently in the summit in Riyadh,” he added.
Less than a month ago, US President Donald Trump visited the region to cement ties with powerhouse Saudi Arabia — the first foreign stop of his young presidency.
In a Riyadh speech to Muslim leaders from around the world, Trump urged them to “drive out” extremists and “terrorists,” as Sunni jihadists carry out attacks in many countries.
AP contributed to this report.