Monday, June 25, 2018

Qatar sues UAE at UN's highest court

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Qatar said Monday it filed a case against the United Arab Emirates at the United Nations' highest court, accusing Abu Dhabi of "discrimination against Qatar and Qatari citizens" amid a yearlong boycott of Doha by four Arab nations. An Emirati minister dismissed the filing as a stunt.

The case before The Hague-based International Court of Justice focuses on the UAE's decision to expel Qatari citizens, block Qatar from accessing its airspace and other matters arising as part of an ongoing diplomatic dispute, Doha said in a statement.

Qatar accuses the UAE of violating its obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the other countries boycotting Qatar in the dispute, have not consented to the court's jurisdiction, though the UAE has, Doha said.

"The UAE deliberately discriminated against Qataris on the basis of their nationality, resulting in serious human rights abuses," Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said.

"Today's application is the first step in bringing an end to these violations and to restoring the basic rights of the many Qataris harmed by the UAE's actions." Emirati Minister of Statefor Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash wrote on Twitter it was "not surprising" as Qatar previously had "lied."The court released a statement late Monday confirming the case had been filed.

Cases at the ICJ generally take months or years to complete. However, requests for provisional measures like those requested by Qatar are dealt with quicker.Rulings by the ICJ are final and binding on the nations involved.

The four Arab nations began the boycott in June 2017, accusing of Qatar supporting for extremist groups in the region, charges denied by Doha. The four nations have also pointed to Qatar's close relationship with Iran, with which it shares a massive offshore gas field that provides the peninsular nation its wealth. Qatar restored full diplomatic ties to Iran amid the dispute.

Boycotting countries' demands include limiting diplomatic ties to Iran, shutting down the state-funded Al-Jazeera satellite news network and other media outlets, and severing ties to all "terrorist organizations," including the Muslim Brotherhood and Lebanon's Hezbollah. Qatar has rejected the demands as violations of its sovereignty.

---AP, Dubai

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