Qatar must shun ‘extremism’ to host World Cup, says Gargash

Anwar Gargash, UAE minister of state for foreign affairs.
Updated 10 October 2017
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Qatar must shun ‘extremism’ to host World Cup, says Gargash

DUBAI: Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, said Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup should depend on it rejecting “extremism and terrorism.”
The Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) — comprising Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE — severed diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar in June, accusing it of sponsoring extremist groups.
“Qatar’s hosting of World Cup 2022 should include a repudiation of policies supporting extremism and terrorism. Doha should review its record,” Anwar Gargash, UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, wrote on Twitter.
“Hosting World Cup 2022 should not be tainted by support of extremist individuals and (organizations)/terrorist figures, review of Qatar’s policies a must,” he added.
The World Cup is the centerpiece of a carefully crafted strategy to project Qatar onto the global stage via sport. In the run-up, Qatar is scheduled to host events across different sports aimed at improving infrastructure and expertise.
Egypt is the top-ranked soccer team in Africa, and Saudi Arabia and the UAE are both in Asia’s top eight.
Last month officials from the ATQ did not turn up to the draw for a Middle East soccer tournament in Doha and said they wanted to postpone the competition that could be an early test for the World Cup hosts.
Qatari officials could not be immediately reached for comment on Gargash’s remarks.
Qatar has previously said that the rift has not affected its preparations to host the tournament and that alternative sources for construction materials had been secured.
Soccer’s governing body FIFA has said it has been in regular contact with Qatar since the row erupted.
Gargash made his comments after a former Dubai police chief wrote on Twitter this week that the Gulf crisis could end if Doha forfeited hosting the World Cup.
Gargash said the official, Dhahi Khalfan, had been misunderstood in media coverage.


UN calls on Libya to crack down on violent militias

Khalifa Haftar. (Supplied)
Updated 19 min 16 sec ago
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UN calls on Libya to crack down on violent militias

  • Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar
  • Tripoli office to a more “secure” location after threats from militiamen against its employees

TRIPOLI: The UN has called on Libya’s internationally recognized government to crack down on armed groups obstructing the work of state institutions in the chaos-wracked country.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) late on Sunday night expressed its “strong condemnation of the violence, intimidation and obstruction to the work of Libya’s sovereign institutions by militiamen.”
It called on the UN-backed Government of National Accord to “prosecute those responsible for these criminal actions.”
The GNA’s military and security institutions have failed to place limits on the powerful militias that sprung up in the turmoil that followed the 2011 ouster of dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
Several state institutions, including those in Tripoli, have been regular targets of harassment and intimidation by armed groups technically operating under the GNA’s Interior Ministry.
Members of militias “nominally acting under the Ministry of Interior of the Government of National Accord are attacking sovereign institutions and preventing them from being able to operate effectively,” UNSMIL said.
Last week, the GNA’s National Oil Corp. said men from the Interior Ministry had forced their way into the headquarters of Brega Petroleum Marketing Company — a distribution outfit — to “arrest” its chief.
The Libyan Investment Authority, the GNA-managed sovereign wealth fund, recently moved from its downtown Tripoli office to a more “secure” location after threats from militiamen against its employees.
UNSMIL said it would work with the international community and the GNA to “investigate the possibility of bringing sanctions against those interfering with or threatening the operations of any sovereign institution.”
Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.
A myriad of militias,terrorist groups and people traffickers have taken advantage of the chaos to gain a foothold in the North African country.