Lavrov: 'Russian hacking' report on Qatar-Gulf states row undermines CNN's reputation

Aaron Brown
June 9, 2017

Qatar is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a defense alliance between the Gulf states: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and UAE.

As anger mounted in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Qatar's foreign minister tried to limit the fallout.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain severed diplomatic relations with Qatar in a coordinated move on Monday, accusing it of support for Islamist militants and Iran.

MOSCOW: Moscow on Wednesday dismissed allegations that Russian hackers helped spark the diplomatic crisis around Qatar, after CNN reported that USA officials believed they planted a false news story.

Saudi Arabia has already closed its airspace to Qatari planes, and - along with Bahrain - has revoked the licence of Qatar Airways.

The Chairman National Human Rights Committee of Qatar, Ali bin Smaikh Al-Marri, said that the 14-day term given to Qataris by those nations after breaking diplomatic ties with Doha on Monday contravenes worldwide norms and principles affecting Qataris.

Jordan has reduced its diplomatic status with Qatar, giving the Qatari Ambassador in Amman just 48 hours to leave the country, reported Al-Arabiya.

"We're getting exhausted of reacting to unsubstantiated banalities", Andrei Krutskikh, a Kremlin adviser on cybersecurity, told the Interfax news agency. He said: "What is happening is the preliminary result of the sword dance", in reference to Trump's joining in a traditional dance with the Saudi king at the meeting.

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Although Qatar is located in a volatile region of the world, its huge foreign currency reserves and comparatively small population mean arranging adequate new sources of food imports in an emergency is a possibility.

Qatar denied the accusations, calling the move "unjustified".

Iran, which was hit by an Islamic State attack on Wednesday, has called for talks to settle the dispute.

Gargash said the UAE wanted to see action taken against individuals living openly in Qatar despite being classified as supporters of terrorism by the United States and United Nations.

Qatar Airways did not respond immediately to a request for comment. It is likely that Egypt came on board two days later, during a visit to Cairo by the Saudi foreign minister.

US officials were blindsided by Saudi Arabia's decision to sever ties with Qatar, current and former USA officials told Reuters.

Social media users in the United Arab Emirates who "show sympathy" for Qatar could face up to 15 years of jail time, UAE Public Prosecutor Hamad al-Shamsi said in a statement on Wednesday.

While the UAE had previously blocked access to Qatar-based media network Al Jazeera, access to the Doha News website was also blocked on Thursday.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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