UAE planted fake news in Qatar row, says US

Cheryl Sanders
July 19, 2017

Qatar's foreign minister said Friday it would be unfair to describe US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's shuttle diplomacy to find a solution for a major feud in the Persian Gulf as a failure, insisting that the crisis "cannot be solved in a day".

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed sanctions on Qatar on June 5, accusing it of financing extremist groups and allying with the Gulf Arab states' arch-foe Iran.

The report "unequivocally proves that this hacking crime took place", it added.

Qatar's neighbours, led by UAE and Saudi Arabia, but also including Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Senegal and Mauritania, used the reports as a casus belli to ostracise Qatar diplomatically in a bid to force it to close the al Jazeera television news network amid claims that the emirate was a regional supporter of terrorist organisations.

It described the alleged hacking as a violation of worldwide law and of agreements between the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - the regional trade and security group - as well as collective agreements with the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the United Nations. Sheikh Saif bin Ahmad Al Thani, the head of Qatar's government communications office, said "it is especially unfortunate that this shameful act of cyber terrorism is being attributed to a fellow member of the Gulf Cooperation Council".

However, UAE's minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said the latest report "is simply not true" and denied his country's role in the incident.

The newspaper report, published online Sunday evening, cited unnamed USA intelligence officials. The Post did not identify the intelligence officials it spoke to for the report. Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas and Gaddafi. The alleged statements sparked a major ongoing dispute between Qatar and several other major Arab powers.

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