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UAE minister responds to hacking claims

17 July 2017

Anwar Gargash, the UAE state minister for foreign affairs, also denied a Washington Post report saying that his country had been behind an alleged cyber attack on Qatar in May which sparked a crisis.

He pointed out that "the current crisis of dimensions beyond the domestic arena of the GCC (Gulf co-operation council)", noting the "need to put an end to official support for extremism and jihadism and terrorism in various parts of the Arab world".

"We're not going to put this [crisis] as a priority now".

"We've sent a message to Qatar". "Our message is it's up to you". "We are ready for this process to take a long time".

"This is our message: You can not be part of a regional organisation dedicated to strengthening mutual security and furthering mutual interest and at the same time undermine that security", he said. But it has denied aiding jihadist groups linked to al-Qaeda or so-called Islamic State (IS).

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Resolution required both agreement with Qatar's neighbours and transparency under worldwide supervision.

"We need a regional solution and global monitoring", he added while making remarks in London.

Meanwhile, Qatar has pointed toward U.S. intelligence officials who revealed the UAE's involvement of being behind an alleged cyber-attack on Doha's state media, which set into motion the current diplomatic crisis.

Qatar has acknowledged providing assistance to Islamist groups designated as terrorist organisations by some of its neighbours, notably the Muslim Brotherhood.

The U.S. and Qatar signed an agreement earlier this month to begin efforts to form a counterterrorism plan.

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In late June, Kuwait, as a mediator in the crisis, handed over to Qatar the ultimatum of the four Arab states with 13 demands, including the requests to severe Doha's relations with Tehran, close Turkey's military base in Qatar and shut down the Al Jazeera TV channel, as well as to end support for the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization banned in Russian Federation.

"We all agree that the solution has to be regional and there is a lot of interest in this issue of monitoring the platform of support for terrorism".

"I am still wondering how we can curb this trend of escalation, and how we can restore some positive perceptions between the stakeholders, as well as some dialogue", Cherkaoui said.

"What will it monitor?"

Pressed on the implications for free speech represented by the demands levelled against Al Jazeera, the minister said criticism was misdirected. "We need to discuss it".

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