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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

Gargash: We're not surprised by Qatar lawsuit given Hajj lies 

Qatar announced that it was suing the UAE over the Quartet's boycott of the peninsular emirate

Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. Reem Mohammed / The National
Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. Reem Mohammed / The National

Dr Anwar Gargash on Monday hit back at Qatar for lodging a complaint against the United Arab Emirates at the UN court of justice, saying that he was unsurprised by the move.

“Qatar said it would sue the UAE before the International Court of Justice for what it described as human rights abuses. We are not surprised by this move by the one who dared to lie before on allegations about Hajj”, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said in a tweet. His message appeared to reference reports that Qatar had accused Saudi Arabia of banning its national from performing Hajj or Umrah. Saudi Arabia denied the claims and said that Qatari pilgrims were are not only allowed to continue undertaking Hajj and Umrah but that they were afforded all the same support and access as any other foreign pilgrim.

Earlier in the day, Reuters news agency reported that the government of Qatar said it was taking the UAE to the United Nations' International Court of Justice over what it described as human right breaches.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a boycott on Qatar in June 2017, severing diplomatic and transport ties with Doha over its support for terrorism.

"As set forth in detail in Qatar’s application to the International Court, the UAE led these actions, which have had a devastating effect on the human rights of Qataris and residents of Qatar," the government said in a statement.

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Qatar said it believed the boycott is in violation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) - including discrimination on the basis of nationality - of which the UAE and Qatar are both signatories.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt are not signatories of the CERD convention.

Qatar requested that the court order the UAE to take steps to comply with its obligations under the CERD, ceasing and revoking the measures and restoring the rights of Qataris. However, the UAE’s position is based on its sovereign right to cut ties and decide who it admits to the country.

It also requested that the UAE makes reparations, including compensation, but gave no details of the amount it might be seeking.

The lawsuit is not the first time Qatar has attempted to take issues with members of the quartet to the UN. Qatar has complained to the United Nations secretary-general and Security Council claiming Emirati jets entered its economic zone.

After a complaint in January, Mr Gargash said the claim was "untrue and confused".

"We are working to respond officially to [the complaint] with evidence and proof," Mr Gargash tweeted shortly after the claim. "What we see is an escalation and unjustified.

"What has been happening under the table is now taking place in the open," he added.