Qatar sanctions likely to become permanent: UAE

Turkish troops seen at their military base in Doha, Qatar June 23, 2017. (Qatar News Agency/Handout via Reuters)
Updated 29 June 2017
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Qatar sanctions likely to become permanent: UAE

JEDDAH: Sanctions imposed on Qatar this month are looking increasingly likely to become permanent as the deadline to meet a set of demands laid out by its Gulf neighbors fast approaches, according to the BBC.
The small peninsular nation has been told it must stop funding terrorism — which it denies — downgrade ties with Iran, and shutdown its news organization Al Jazeera, or face permanent isolation.
Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt, have given Doha until Monday, July 3, to comply with their demands, but so far it has shown no signs of backing down.
UAE Ambassador to Moscow, Omar Ghobash, conceded that Qatar was not responding “positively” to the demands.
And he explained: “I think the whole idea would be to ultimately, simply disengage from Qatar.”
But asked if this included expulsion from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), he replied: “not immediately,” but added it was under discussion.
Ghobash said he did not believe there was risk that the situation could escalate into a military conflict, or at least: “Not from our side.”
“These are relatives and friends. They have a leadership that’s decided to undermine us. We’ll cut all our ties with Qatar, economic, political and even social as a result of the flight bans.”
He explained that once the deadline past, the four Arab states would “no longer be interested in bringing Qatar back into the Gulf and the Arab fold.”
Ghobash admitted that permanent sanctions would present risks — not least, pushing Qatar further toward Iran.
But he added: “Unfortunately Qatar has been in the arms of Iran and many Sunni extremist groups for a long time… So the idea of it falling into Iran’s lap is something we accept [as a risk] but at least it will provide clarity to the region and we’ll know who our friends and enemies are.”
Turkey, which maintains a military presence in Qatar, recently airlifted in armored vehicles, and it also suggested it might deploy more troops, prompting Bahrain to accuse Qatar of “military escalation.”
Ghobash denies the current situation is mere spat between royals, adding that such a claim was a “a complete misrepresentation of the situation.”
Instead he said: This is a serious conflict and a turning point in our societies… This is a principled stand that we are taking against very powerful negative narratives of Islam being funded by countries like Qatar.”


British defense contractor under fraud investigation over suspected corruption in Algeria

Updated 26 min 11 sec ago
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British defense contractor under fraud investigation over suspected corruption in Algeria

  • Ultra said in a statement that it had referred itself to the British fraud authorities and that the SFO investigation concerned the business conduct of Ultra, its subsidiaries, employees and associated persons
  • The SFO’s investigation into Ultra, which makes military electronics for land, air and sea forces, follows probes into other British companies operating in the defense sector including Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems

LONDON: Ultra Electronics on Thursday announced that the UK’s Serious Fraud Office had opened a criminal investigation into “suspected corruption in the conduct of business” by the British defense contractor in Algeria.
Ultra said in a statement that it had referred itself to the British fraud authorities and that the SFO investigation concerned the business conduct of Ultra, its subsidiaries, employees and associated persons.
“Given the stage of these matters, it is not possible to estimate reliably what effect the outcome of this matter may have on the group,” Ultra said, adding that it continued to co-operate with the SFO.
The SFO in a statement said it was looking into Ultra but said it could not provide additional information as the investigation “is live.”
Ultra shares were down 6 percent in early trade.
The SFO’s investigation into Ultra, which makes military electronics for land, air and sea forces, follows probes into other British companies operating in the defense sector including Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems.
Ultra Electronics’s biggest market is North America with just 17 percent of its revenue coming from what it calls “rest of the world.” It does not mention Algeria in its annual report.
Ultra, which last month abandoned a bid for US company Sparton Corp. due to anti-trust concerns, is currently without a chief executive.
Douglas Caster assumed the role of executive chairman last year after the previous CEO quit. New CEO Simon Pryce is due to join in June.
The SFO has been criticized by lawmakers in the past over its efforts to bring companies and senior individuals to book. More recently it has secured deferred prosecution agreements with Rolls-Royce and Tesco and filed unprecedented criminal charges against Barclays and former senior executives.