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Anti-Terror Quartet: Measures taken against Qatar not a blockade but boycott

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, is pictured on a screen as he delivers his speech at the 36th Session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on September 11, 2017. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)
GENEVA: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates affirmed on Thursday that the measures they have taken against Qatar are “legitimate sovereign decisions”.
In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the four Arab nations — collectively known as the Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) — said the measures cannot be considered a “blockade" by any means, but rather “a boycott emanating from the harm caused by irresponsible Doha actions through its support, financing and harboring of terrorist elements.”
The statement was issued in Swiss capital on behalf of the quartet by the UAE Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Obeid Salem Al-Ziaabi, in response to a speech by Qatar’s foreign minister during a panel discussion on the Qatari crisis during the current session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani claimed that the Qatari people have been harmed by the “illegal siege" enforced by the four countries.
Al-Ziaabi refuted the charge, saying that senior Qatari officials had in fact been strutting around with a “business as usual” attitude and projecting the impression that the boycott had little effect on them.
“In our opinion, these contradictions adopted by Qatari policy decision-makers reflecting dualism of speech, explain that there are two tones of address in Qatar, one addressing the domestic public and the other refuting the international viewpoints aiming to unveil the real reasons behind the boycott,” he said.
The quartet severed diplomatic relations with Qatar in early June, accusing it of harboring extremists and supporting or financing terrorist organizations.
Ziaabi said the Qatari delegation’s effort to push forward the matter for the second time on the same day only showed that Qatar “did not have any intention to review and change its policies and positions in support of terrorism and extremism.”
Despite an attempt by the Emir of Kuwait to mediate between his feuding allies, Qatar has repeatedly thumbed its nose on the quartet and flaunted its closer ties with Iran.
Iran has been accused by the quartet of sowing chaos and violence in the Mideast region, supporting militias such as the Houthis of Yemen, the Hezbollah of Lebanon, and the brutal regime of Bashar Assad in Syria.

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