Ethiopia cuts ties with Qatar


Ethiopia broke diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing the Gulf Arab state of supporting terrorism in Somalia and Ethiopia and spreading instability in the Horn of Africa.


“Whether in Somalia and in other parts of the Horn of Africa – including within Ethiopia – Qatar has been one of the most important supporters of terrorism and extremism in our sub-region,” Ethiopia's government said in an email statement.


A US ally and the biggest military power in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia said it had long observed Qatar's “hostile behavior”, had raised the issue directly on various occasions, and had been patient before taking Monday's measure.


The statement added that Qatar's hostility to Ethiopia “included the output of its media outlets”, a presumed reference to the Al Jazeera Arab satellite television network.


Jazeera has in recent days been broadcasting reports on the conflict in Ethiopia's Ogaden region that have criticised the military's role against local rebels.


Qatari officials could not be immediately reached for reaction. Ethiopia urged it to “speedily change the misguided policies which have led to this unfortunate situation.”


Bilateral trade is a negligible $6 million annually, according to Ethiopian officials.


Qatar, an oil and gas producer, is also an American ally and hosts a large US military base. (Reuters)