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UAE had competed with Qatar to host Taliban in 2013

News Agencies | Updated on: 1 August 2017, 13:54 IST

The United Arab Emirates has cut off its ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting Islamist militants, citing the opening of a Taliban embassy in Doha in 2013 as the prime example, but it was the Emiratis who tried to get the Taliban to open an embassy in their own country instead.

A New York Times report has cited leaked emails from the UAE ambassador to Washington Yousef al-Otaiba's account, and has said that the latter even received "an angry phone call" from his country's foreign minister at the time complaining that the Taliban had ended up in Qatar.

This comes amid an ongoing crisis in the Gulf, which has seen Qatar come under severe pressure from regional countries.

In June, the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt cut off trade and diplomatic relations with Qatar as punishment for what they said was its support of Islamist extremism. Qatar, the site of the largest American air base in the region, charged that Saudi Arabia and the Emirates were inventing a pretext to bully their neighbour.

The four states have issued a list of 59 individuals and 12 organizations they accuse of "terrorist" links, a move decried by Qatar. Appealing for an end to the ongoing "blockade" of his country by Arab states, Qatar's Ambassador to the United States has said his country won't be affected if the embargo lasts forever.

"There is no damage to our economy. Qatar is solid in its economy and we are comfortable and we can continue like this forever," Ambassador Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani said.

Qatar and the UAE are both key allies of Washington but have been intense rivals for years and have recently accused each other of meddling in each other's internal affairs.

The Middle East has been plunged into one of its worst diplomatic crises in decades after nine countries including United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain have cut ties with Qatar, one of the richest states in the Middle East, calling into question the future of a powerful 36-year-old Gulf states union since June 5 .Arab countries had insisted that Doha should fulfill 13 precise demands including reducing diplomatic ties with Iran and supporting counter-terrorism or specify the deadline for them to comply


First published: 1 August 2017, 13:54 IST