Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain withdraw envoys from Qatar
March 5, 2014 -- Updated 1646 GMT (0046 HKT)
- NEW: Qatar expresses "regret and surprise" at the decision
- Saudia Arabia, UAE, Bahrain announced the unprecedented move in joint statement
- They say Doha has not implemented a security agreement among Gulf Arab countries
- Tensions between Qatar and other Gulf countries have increased in recent years
(CNN) -- Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain announced Wednesday the withdrawal of 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, which are all part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) along with Qatar, announced the unprecedented move in a joint statement.
They said GCC members had signed a deal November 23 that included "a security agreement and a commitment to the principles that ensure non-interference in the internal affairs of any of the GCC countries, either directly or indirectly, and not to support any activity that would threaten the security and stability of any of the GCC countries from organizations or individuals, including support for hostile media."
GCC foreign ministers met in Riyadh Tuesday to try to persuade Qatar to implement the agreement, the statement said.
"Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain hoped that the agreement will be implemented, however, after more than three months after the signing of the agreement, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain feel that the State of Qatar did not take the necessary actions to put it into practice," a statement on the Saudi Foreign Ministry Facebook page said.
"Therefore Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain regret to announce that they will take what they deem to be the appropriate steps to protect the security and stability of their nations by withdrawing their ambassadors from Qatar."
Qatar expressed "regret and surprise" at the decision and said it would not reciprocate with the same move, a cabinet statement published on the state Qatar News Agency said.
It said it would remain committed to "preserving and protecting the security and stability" of the GCC countries.
Tensions between Qatar and the rest of the GCC have increased in recent years.
Wednesday's announcement is the clearest sign yet of a rift between Gulf Arab nations and Qatar, a perceived supporter of Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East -- which are viewed with suspicion or outright hostility by some fellow GCC members. Qatar denounced last year's ouster of Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsy, who hails from the Brotherhood.
The GCC, formed in 1981, consists of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
READ: Qatar 2022: Will new charter protect migrant workers at World Cup?
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0254 GMT (1054 HKT)
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0024 GMT (0824 HKT)
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0822 GMT (1622 HKT)
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2100 GMT (0500 HKT)
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.