'Not true, purely not true': UAE denies Qatar hacking claim

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash speaks during a press conference at his office in Dubai

The Washington Post's story alleging that the United Arab Emirates orchestrated the hacking of Qatari government news and social media in late May is not true, the UAE's ambassador to the United States, Yousef al-Otaiba, said on Monday.

The UAE embassy in Washington on Monday sent a series of tweets quoting its ambassador, Yousef Al Otaiba, denying the Washington Post report, which was published Sunday and, according to the paper, was based on information provided by unnamed USA intelligence officials.

Swiss news network The Local said a fake news story quoting Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino had been posted on a copycat website on Saturday.

Since June 5, Qatar has been under a land, sea and air blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen, who accuse Doha of supporting terrorism. "We either reach an agreement and Qatar's behaviour changes, or Qatar makes its own bed and they can move on and we can move with a new relationship".

The US sources alleged UAE officials had discussed the planned hacks on May 23, just days before they occurred, but added that it remained unclear whether the UAE carried out the hack itself or paid another entity to do so.

Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was falsely quoted as praising Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as speaking positively about Iran and Israel - remarks that drew the ire of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and were later used as justification for severing diplomatic ties with the tiny Gulf kingdom.

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Qatar says it believes the Washington Post report, saying it "unequivocally proves that this hacking crime took place". "Inciting violence, encouraging radicalisation, and undermining the stability of its neighbours". Doha had previously asked USA and British officials to investigate the source of the hack.

"The Washington Post story today that we actually hacked the Qataris is also not true", he told the London-based think-tank Chatham House.

"Perhaps this will finally result in some movement".

"We've sent a message to Qatar".

"Tillerson's spokesperson has said that [Qatar-Gulf crisis negotiations] may be a long process to find any sort of common ground in resolving this conflict", said Zhou-Castro.

The hacks took place almost two weeks earlier on May 24, one day after senior Emirati officials allegedly discussed the plan. But his efforts, and those of European states, have so far been unsuccessful. Qatar's critics are widely thought to have overreached in their demands, in particular in their insistence the Al Jazeera news network be shut down.

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