Nations cut ties with Qatar over Islamist group support

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Maldives announced it will join Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday and began withdrawing its diplomatic staff over its alleged support for Islamist groups and relations with Iran.

The foreign ministry said in a statement that Maldives has pursued a policy of promoting peace and stability in the Middle East, and the decision was made because of its firm opposition to activities that encourage terrorism and extremism.

Many regional airlines, including Fly Dubai, are cancelling flights to the country.

An Iranian official said his country can export food to Qatar by sea, as the nations move to isolate the gas-rich nation.

Qatar relies on food trucked in from Saudi Arabia across its sole land border. Al-Jazeera reported that trucks carrying food for Qatar are now lining up across the border, unable to enter the country.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are regional rivals who back opposing sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen.

Iran says rising tensions among its Arab Gulf neighbors threaten the interests of everyone in the region and has called for "political and peaceful methods" to resolve the crisis.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is urging the countries to work out their differences and is offering U.S. assistance, if needed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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