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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 22 July 2018

UAE rejects Qatar's accusation of discrimination

Measures taken against Doha's support for terrorism do not target its people, ambassador tells UN's top court

The International Court of Justice in The Hague. John Thys / AFP 
The International Court of Justice in The Hague. John Thys / AFP 

The UAE has dismissed Doha's claims at the UN's top court that it was discriminating against Qatari citizens.

"The UAE completely rejects Qatar’s allegations, all of which are without any merit or basis. Qatar has put forward no credible evidence to substantiate any of these claims," the UAE Ambassador to the Netherlands, Saeed Al Nowais, told the International Court for Justice on Thursday.

Doha filed a complaint in the ICJ on Wednesday alleging that the UAE boycott of Qatar violated the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, to which both countries are signatories. Doha is asking the court to intervene and hand down provisional measures against the alleged discrimination as well as order "full reparation, including compensation for the harm suffered as a result of the UAE's actions".

The UAE along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a trade and travel ban on Qatar on June 5 last year over Doha's support for terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, Al Nusra Front, ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as extremists militias in countries such as Libya, Syria and Somalia.

"We recognise that the Qatari people have no responsibility for the dangerous policies of their government, which is why the UAE’s measures against the Qatari government are carefully designed to have the least possible impact on ordinary people," the state news agency Wam quoted Mr Al Nowais as telling the court in The Hague.

"The reality is that the present crisis was caused by Qatar’s own unlawful conduct and the solution is largely within Qatar’s hands. Qatar must, in accordance with its international obligations, stop harbouring and supporting terrorist groups and individuals," the ambassador said.

"Our government has asked Qatar time and again to cease this conduct. Although Qatar repeatedly committed to do so, it has failed to live up to its commitments."

Wam reported that the UAE also submitted evidence to counter Qatar's allegations.

Official figures provided to the court showed that as of mid-June this year there were 2,194 Qataris in the UAE, "a number that is not substantially different than the number as at June 5, 2017".

Qataris are free to transfer money both from and to the UAE, with a summary of bank remittances between the UAE and Qatar showing inward remittances of Dh26,463,270,000 and outward remittances of Dh15,747,493,000 for the period of June 2017 to April 2018.

The UAE presented evidence that Qatari citizens continued to enjoy access to their assets and investments in the UAE, including copies of commercial licences issued to Qatari companies since crisis began.

The evidence also showed that Qataris in the UAE continued to have access to health care, including under the government’s Daman UAE health insurance scheme, Wam reported.