'No legitimate justification' for cutting diplomatic ties, says Qatar
The decision to cut relations with Qatar was based on "allegations, fabrications and lies" perpetuated by "a wide and unjust media campaign" that sought to undermine the state's sovereignty, the ministerial statement said.
"It was clear from the outset that the aim of the media campaign, the decision to cut off diplomatic ties and close the border is to exert pressure on the state of Qatar to give up its national sovereignty, independent policies and decisions, which were based primarily on protecting the interest of its people," said the statement.
Saudi Arabia and Egypt had cut ties with Qatar earlier on Monday, accusing it of supporting extremism.
Bahrain, the UAE, Yemen and the Maldives joined in severing relations with gas-rich state, with Riyadh accusing Doha of supporting "terrorists" - claims strongly denied by Qatar.
The severing of ties by Saudi Arabia included closing the border and suspending flights to Qatar.
Doha vowed that the measures would not "affect the lives of citizens and residents".
Many flights will continue as usual, except for those affected by the ban declared by the countries who have closed their borders, the statement said, adding that maritime borders will remain open for imports.
"The aim is clear, and it is to impose guardianship on the state. This by itself is a violation of [Qatar's] sovereignty as a state," the statement concluded.
Earlier on Monday, Qatar's foreign ministry released a statement expressing "great surprise" at the decisions taken by a number of Gulf states.
"It is clear that the media campaign against Qatar has failed, especially in Gulf nations, which explains this escalation," the statement said, "the fabrication" of a media crisis used to increase pressure against it is evidence that there are "no legitimate causes to take the decision to cut ties".
"The goal is clear, enforcing guardianship over our country which is a blatant violation of our sovereignty, which is completely unacceptable. The statement released by the three GCC nations makes it clear that the relentless fabricated media campaign against Qatar was pre-planned."
The crisis followed weeks of rising tensions between Doha and its neighbours, including Qatari accusations of a concerted media campaign against it following the hacking of the Qatar News Agency.
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