PAL flights to Qatar unaffected by diplomatic row

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Five Arab countries-Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen-have severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, cut off all travel to and from the country, and ordered their citizens to leave the country.

It appears Saudi Arabia is now working to consolidate its position as the leader of that group and sideline Qatar, whose policies have often been at odds with other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional alliance of six nations. The Saudis agreed to a lucrative, $300 billion arms deal that could have emboldened its leadership, believing the USA will support actions against Qatar.

Qatar has yet to comment on the growing crisis. Qatar has relentlessly denied claims supporting militant groups in the region.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE co-ordinated together to set the diplomatic withdrawal into motion, closing all transport ties to Qatar, a tiny gas-rich peninsula.

Qatar is the largest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The Qatar Stock Exchange fell 7 percent.

Cairo has accused Al-Jazeera of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood which it blames for violence after Egypt's military ousted the movement from power in 2013.

Qatar Airways will suspend all flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia until further notice, providing its customers the option of a full refund on any unused tickets or a free rebooking to the nearest alternative destination.

It is clear that the media campaign of fabrications has failed to sway public opinion in the region, and among Gulf countries in particular, and this explains the continued escalation against Qatar.

Dubai-based budget carrier flydubai said on Monday it would suspend flights to and from Doha from Tuesday after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) severed ties with Qatar.

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Qatar Airways said on its official website it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia.

More broadly, two key factors drove Monday's decision: Qatar's ties to Islamist groups, and the role of Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional rival.

Qatar was also expelled from a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies may have felt emboldened by Trump's visit, which saw the new president clearly align USA interests with Riyadh and lash out at Iran.

In Sydney, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he didn't believe the diplomatic crisis would affect the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

US President Donald Trump, right, holds a bilateral meeting with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Sunday, May 21, 2017, in Riyadh.

The stories quoted him questioning USA hostility toward Iran, speaking of "tensions" between Doha and Washington, and speculating that Trump might not remain in power for long.

Vijayan also made a request that the Indian Embassy in Doha may be suitably empowered to respond presciently to the concerns of the Indian population in Qatar.

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