UAE tells ICJ Qatar must unblock travel document website

UAE calls on Qatar to stop spreading lies and disinformation about the Emirates. (Reuters)
Updated 07 May 2019
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UAE tells ICJ Qatar must unblock travel document website

  • UAE calls on Qatar to stop spreading lies and disinformation about the Emirates
  • UAE requests ICJ urges UN committee dimiss a Qatari compain of 'racial discrimination'

LONDON: The UAE on Tuesday demanded Qatar unblock a website that allows Qatari citizens to apply for entry permits to travel to the Emirates.

The request was made at an International Court of Justice hearing to consider the UAE’s plea that Qatar withdraws a complaint it lodged with the UN’s Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Emirates’ state news agency WAM reported.

Qatar alleged that the UAE had discriminated against its citizens with travel and residency restrictions after the Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries launched a boycott of Doha in 2017. The embargo broke trade, travel and diplomatic links over Qatar’s support of extremist groups. 

At the hearing Tuesday, the UAE also called on Qatar to stop misusing its national authorities and media outlets to spread lies and disinformation about the UAE.

“Qatar is employing cheap tricks to put international forums in a fix,” Abdullah Al-Naqbi, Director of International Law at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said. “It should first stop its harmful policies against its just neighbors. It should stop funding and promoting terrorism and instead honor its commitment to the Riyadh Agreement.”

The Riyadh Agreement was a document signed by all members of the GCC in 2014 pledging not to interfere in each other's internal affairs or support extremist groups.

The UAE told the ICJ that while Qatar was lodging multiple complaints with international bodies accusing the Emirates of not allowing Qatari residents to travel to the UAE on “racial grounds,” a website for residency permit applications remained blocked inside Qatar.

The UAE requested the ICJ to direct  the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination not to accept the Qatari complaint filed in March last year.


Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

Updated 21 May 2019
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Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

  • Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Lebanon insists that the area lies within its economic zone and refuses to give up a single part of it

BEIRUT: Lebanon has hinted that progress is being made in efforts to resolve its maritime border dispute with Israel following the return of a US mediator from talks with Israeli officials.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield returned to Lebanon following talks in Israel where he outlined Lebanese demands regarding the disputed area and the mechanism to reach a settlement.

The US mediator has signaled a new push to resolve the dispute after meetings with both Lebanese and Israeli officials.

Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon hopes to begin offshore oil and gas production in the offshore Block 9 as it grapples with an economic crisis.

A source close to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who met with Satterfield on Monday after his return to Lebanon, told Arab News that “there is progress in the efforts, but the discussion is not yet over.” He did not provide further details.

Sources close to the Lebanese presidency confirmed that Lebanon is counting on the US to help solve the demarcation dispute and would like to accelerate the process to allow exploration for oil and gas to begin in the disputed area.

Companies that will handle the exploration require stability in the area before they start working, the sources said.

Previous efforts by Satterfield to end the dispute failed in 2012 and again last year after Lebanon rejected a proposal by US diplomat Frederick Hoff that offered 65 percent of the disputed area to Lebanon and 35 percent to Israel. Lebanon insisted that the area lies within its economic zone and refused to give up a single part of it.

Satterfield has acknowledged Lebanon’s ownership of around 500 sq km of the disputed 850 sq km area.

Lebanon renewed its commitment to a mechanism for setting the negotiations in motion, including the formation of a tripartite committee with representatives of Lebanon, Israel and the UN, in addition to the participation of the US mediator. Beirut also repeated its refusal to negotiate directly with Israel.

Two months ago, Lebanon launched a marine environmental survey in blocks 4 and 9 in Lebanese waters to allow a consortium of French, Italian and Russian companies to begin oil and gas exploration in the area.