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RIYADH, March 5 Saudi Arabia, the United Arab
Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain said on Wednesday they were
withdrawing their ambassadors from Qatar because Doha had not
implemented an agreement among Gulf Arab countries not to
interfere in each others' internal affairs.
The move, conveyed in a joint statement by the three
countries, is unprecedented in the three-decade history of the
Gulf Cooperation Council, a pro-Western alliance of Saudi
Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Oman.
Qatar has been a maverick in the conservative region Of
hereditary monarchies, backing Islamist groups in Egypt, Syria
and elsewhere in the Middle East that are viewed with suspicion
or outright hostility by some fellow GCC members.
The statement said GCC members had signed an agreement on
Nov. 23 not to back "anyone threatening the security and
stability of the GCC whether as groups or individuals - via
direct security work or through political influence, and not to
support hostile media".
GCC foreign ministers had met in Riyadh on Tuesday to try to
persuade Qatar to implement the agreement, it said.
"But unfortunately, these efforts did not result in Qatar's
agreement to abide by these measures, which prompted the three
countries to start what they saw as necessary, to protect their
security and stability, by withdrawing their ambassadors from
Qatar starting from today, March 5 2013," the statement said.
(Reporting by Angus McDowall, Reem Shamseddine and Rania el
Gamal; Writing by William Maclean; Editing by Mark Heinrich)