Minister denies report putting UAE behind hacking of Qatari media

Anwar Gargash

Six countries that cut diplomatic ties with Qatar last month have demanded Federation Internationale de Football Association strip the Gulf state of the 2022 World Cup and threatened a boycott.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt all blocked Qatari media and later severed diplomatic ties. Saudi Arabia also sealed Qatar's only land border, impacting a key source of food imports in the mostly desert nation.

The countries all ties with Qatar last month, alleging that it supports Islamist militant groups, a charge Qatar has denied.

"A third country has no right to say something to Qatar or Turkey".

"For public consumption at least, the US State Department is trying to send out a signal that it has worked hard with its three allies - Saudi, UAE, Qatar - to try to find a mutually agreeable solution", Christopher Davidson, an expert on Middle East politics at Britain's Durham University, told AFP. "We are looking forward to concrete measures that are going to lead to the de-escalation of the situation, because this crisis isn't going to benefit any of the parties".

Tillerson signed a counterterror agreement with Qatar this week and called on all sides to negotiate, with his top aide telling the press in regard to all countries involved in the crisis: "No one's hands are clean here".

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"If Tillerson can convincingly frame his mission as delivering a deal for the United States that is all about defeating terrorism... then he may have some chance", said Partrick, who focuses on Gulf politics. Qatar's sovereignty and curb freedom of the media prompted the alliance to adopt six principles that repackaged the demands and removed some of the sharp edges.Much like the original demands, those principles also failed to garner the kind of worldwide support the alliance needs to push forward with a tightening of the screws on Qatar.

It also claims the boycott has led to human rights violations, and on Thursday one group said abuses were a effect of the crisis.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar are among the world's biggest military spenders, purchasing billions of dollars in equipment from the USA and Europe to beef up their militaries. "Qatar is a wealthy ... state that provides for its citizens' every need", Roberts added.

Qatar will spend $431 million to build a food processing and storage facility near Hamad Port in about two years that will more than meet local demand for sugar, rice and cooking oil.

"We can't tolerate such direct and overt support of extremist ideologies", he said, noting that more pressures have to be piled over such nations to change course.

The Arab quartet, however, view Qatar's policies in the region as a bigger and more immediate threat.

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