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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Cutting ties with Qatar 'a sovereign decision' says UAE's UN envoy

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain severed diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar in June last year

Obaid Salem Al Zaabi said the quartet considered their actions against Qatar a boycott, not a blockade. Reuters
Obaid Salem Al Zaabi said the quartet considered their actions against Qatar a boycott, not a blockade. Reuters

The UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Egypt’s decision to cut ties with Qatar was “a sovereign decision”, the UAE's representative to the UN told a gathering in Geneva on Wednesday.

Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, the UAE's envoy to the UN in Geneva, made the comments on behalf of the four nations currently undertaking sanctions against Qatar at an interactive dialogue with the UN’s Special Rapporteur of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.

The rapporteur’s most recent report said the international sanctions enacted against Qatar in June last year and still in force by the quartet “are overly broad in scope and implementation… and have the potential to seriously disrupt the lives of thousands of women, children and men, simply because they belong to one of the nationalities involved in the dispute”.

Mr Al Zaabi disputed the special rapporteur's conclusions, saying:

“The UAE does not consider itself concerned with the report of the Special Rapporteur... and stresses that it has no connection with these measures.

“We have explained to the Special Rapporteur on several occasions that the decision of the four countries to sever diplomatic relations with Qatar is a sovereign decision and consider it a boycott and not as a blockade as Qatar wants to show to the world.”

The quartet imposing the sanctions cut diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar in June last year, accusing the state of supporting extremist groups.

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