Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have said they are 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 three countries said the move was necessary "to protect their security and stability".
According to a report published by Saudi state media on Wednesday, the decision to withdraw diplomatic envoys was made because Qatar did not implement a security pact about non-interference in the internal affairs of the other states that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
A joint statement from the three countries claimed Qatar failed to commit "to the principles" of the GCC.
A security agreement signed last year by the GCC focused on co-operation in the exchange of information and tracking down of criminals and those who broke the law.
Qatar's government said it expressed "disappointment and surprise at the statement issued by the brotherly countries".
"The moves taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain have nothing to do with their national interests nor their security and stability, but there is a difference of opinion and position on a number of issues outside the Gulf Co-operation Council."
The statement further said that Qatar was committed to "brotherly principles concerning their brothers in the council".
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the former Qatar ambassador to the UN and US, called the decision "a big mistake".
"It is unfortunate that some of them [GCC countries] are trying to force Qatar to take certain policies which have nothing to do with the Gulf, nothing to do with Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates or Bahrain."
"The whole issue is really about Sisi," he said, referring to the Egyptian general Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who removed Mohamed Morsi from the presidency last year.
"These countries, they are supporting a coup d'etat where thousands of Egyptians are being killed in front of the whole world. And they want Qatar to support such a policy," Khalifa said.
"But we will never support any regime which kills its own people."
The cause of the GCC diplomatic spat
"I am sure in the days after that wisdom will come and these countries will realise that trying to impose the philosophy of my way and the highway will not work with Qatar," Khalifa said.
The joint statement said GCC members had signed an agreement on November 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.
The move is thought to be unprecedented in the three-decade history of the GCC, a pro-Western alliance of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Oman.
The Qatar stock exchange closed 2.09 percent down following the decision.
Source: Al Jazeera
Qatar...a country-among few ones- supports needy nations...
May Allah save it. We are all supporting Qatar
Qatar's a country with backbones. Qatar stays rigid on their decision. Long live the nation...
"But we will never support any regime which kills its own people." the great word , allah will bless qatar.
Hey , It's not that simple .... there might be some technicalities ....
It 'll be fine .... consider it resolved .....
Thu , 06.03.2014 , 09.18 hrs
Great decision .... long live Qatar !!!! He is the 'Khalifa' by all means !!!
All Sri lankans will support to QATAR.
All INDIANS will support to QATAR.
Qatar is the only country which openly condemns what is wrong and its support to Syria and Egypt has proved it .. May Allah bless Qatar always being born here i have seen Qatar growing with my own eyes and my patriotism will always be for this nation no matter what. The decision by our brothers KSA,UAE,BAHRAIN is really disappointing its time when they have to join hands and get together but this action by them is very saddening. QATAR WE LOVE YOU AND WILL ALWAYS STAND BY YOU.. DON'T CHANGE YOUR STAND
Simpletons and peasants
Salute for you Mr.Khalifa, you are right on this occasion sir. Your decision not to support Sisi and his allies UAE/KSA/BAH is absolutely correct. And you have made the right choice to protect Muslim community which is a sensible decision. Now we can really understand who really cares about Muslims around the world and who are just namely caring. Those countries which has withdrawn their ambassadors are totally wrong and they want to protect themselves at the expense of other Muslims who are dying daily.
3 countries are supporter of terrorists, blame another one, to be a terrorist? LOL :)