6 Mar 2014

Gulf states recall envoys to Qatar

9:32 pm on 6 March 2014

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have withdrawn their ambassadors from Qatar in an unprecedented split between the Gulf Arab allies.

Qatar's cabinet voiced regret and surprise at the decision by its Gulf Cooperation Council counterparts, but said Doha would not pull out its own envoys in response.

The council was set up in the 1980s to counter Iranian influence in the Gulf, and includes several of the world's biggest oil and gas producers and exporters, Reuters reports.

Saudi Arabia, the biggest state by population, size and economy, has grown increasingly frustrated over recent years at the efforts of Qatar, a country of just two million people, to leverage its large wealth from gas exports into regional clout.