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UAE blames Qatari media for undermining Gulf crisis progress

  • Published at 06:27 pm December 22nd, 2020
File Photo: A general view shows the headquarters of Al Jazeera Media Network in Doha, Qatar June 8, 2017 Reuters

Qatar's Al-Jazeera television said a number of its journalists' mobile phones had been hacked

A top UAE official said on Tuesday Qatari media were undermining efforts to end a three-year dispute between the emirate and four former allies ahead of a Gulf summit next month.

Anwar Gargash, the United Arab Emirates' minister of state for foreign affairs, did not specify which media outlets he was referring to.

But his comments came a day after Qatar's Al-Jazeera television said a number of its journalists' mobile phones had been hacked, most likely by regional players.

"The political and social atmospheres in the Gulf are looking to end the Qatar crisis and for the best method to guarantee Doha's commitment to any agreement that carries good for the region, but Qatari media seems adamant on undermining any agreement," he tweeted.

"A strange and difficult phenomenon to explain." Kuwait announced on Thursday that the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will meet on January 5 in Saudi Arabia, which has expressed its willingness to resolve the rift.

The bloc groups Qatar with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Saudi Arabia led its allies the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt to cut ties with Qatar in June 2017, saying it was too close to Iran and funding radical Islamist movements - charges Doha denies.

The Saudi-led quartet subsequently forced out Qatari expatriate residents, closed their airspace to Qatari aircraft and sealed their borders and ports, separating some mixed-nationality families.

After severing ties, the four governments issued a list of 13 demands for Qatar, including the closure of Al-Jazeera.

Earlier this month, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said a resolution of the Gulf diplomatic crisis was in sight, with all governments involved "on board" and a final agreement expected soon.

Egypt and the UAE have since given their public support to the negotiations although diplomatic sources say the UAE has been reluctant to compromise.

The potential thaw comes as Gulf states prepare for the incoming US administration of President-elect Joe Biden.

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