Abu Dhabi on Thursday called on Doha to stop “supporting terrorist groups and individuals” as it strongly denied human rights abuses against Qatari citizens before the UN´s top court.
The bitter Gulf crisis pitting Doha against its neighbours including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain moved to the international courts Wednesday, with Qatar accusing the UAE of fostering an “environment of hate” against its citizens.
But Abu Dhabi´s representatives Thursday fired back, saying it cut relations with Qatar “because of its support for terrorism, its interference with the affairs of its neighbours and its dissemination of hate speech.”
“Our government has asked Qatar time-and-again to seize this conduct,” the UAE´s ambassador to the Netherlands, Saeed Alnowais, told the International Court of Justice.
“Although Qatar repeatedly committed to do so, it has failed to live up to its commitments,” Alnowais said.
Qatar earlier this month dragged the UAE before the Hague-based body — which rules in disputes between countries — accusing it of racism and human rights abuses against its citizens.
The legal moves at the ICJ come a year after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt cut all ties with Doha accusing it of supporting terrorism and Iran. Doha denies the allegations.
Doha´s lawyers Wednesday told a 16-judge bench at the tribunal that Abu Dhabi has implemented a “series of broad discriminatory measures” against Qataris including expelling them, stopping their access to health care and criminalising any statements that express sympathy with Qatar.
Qatar, which bases its claim on the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), also accuses the UAE of shutting down its media networks including the Al Jazeera news service.
Doha is demanding the ICJ urgently intervene and hand down provisional measures to stop further prejudice as well as, over the longer term, order “full reparation, including compensation for the harm suffered as a result of the UAE´s actions in violation of the CERD.”
UAE representative Alnowais, however, said his country “completely rejects the allegations, all of which are without any merit or basis.”
“Qatar has put forward no credible evidence to substantiate any of these claims,” he said, adding it consisted “only of anecdotal and unverified statements,” he said.
Diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis have so far proved fruitless in what was previously one of the most stable regions in the Arab world.
The wrangling has shattered old alliances and rendered the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council practically obsolete, pushing Qatar towards Turkey and Iran.
Qatar maintains the dispute is an attack on its sovereignty and punishment for pursuing an independent foreign policy.