Qatar files complaint to WTO against blockading Gulf nations

Published 01.08.2017 00:00
Updated 01.08.2017 09:17
An aerial view of the diplomatic area in Doha, Qatar, March 21, 2013. Reuters Photo
An aerial view of the diplomatic area in Doha, Qatar, March 21, 2013. (Reuters Photo)

Qatar has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over an "illegal siege" imposed by its Gulf neighbors, the commerce ministry said Monday.

The gas-rich emirate has been slapped with sanctions and demands after four countries including regional kingpin Saudi Arabia cut ties with it on June 5, accusing Doha of fostering "terrorist" groups and of links to Riyadh's arch-rival Iran. Qatar denies the allegations.

The Ministry of Economy and Commerce said a complaint had been lodged with the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body against the "siege countries."

According to the emirate, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are violating laws and conventions related to trade.

The Saudi-led bloc has demanded the termination of regional news giant Al-Jazeera, the downgrading of Iran ties and the closure of a Turkish military base in the country.

The countries have also recalled their ambassadors from Doha, ordered all Qataris to return home and banned Qatar from using their airspace.

"The complaint accuses the siege countries of violating the WTO's core laws and conventions on trade of goods and services, and trade-related aspects of intellectual property," the Qatar ministry said.

"The arbitrary measures taken by the siege countries are a clear violation of the provisions and conventions of international trade law.

"Furthermore, the illegal siege is unprecedented in the framework of economic blocs," Qatar's economic and commerce minister Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassem bin Mohammed Al-Thani said in the statement.

The diplomatic crisis between Doha and its neighbours is the biggest to have hit the Gulf Cooperation Council in decades.

The isolation campaign has forced Qatar to seek more expensive imports and reroute flights on costly detours over friendlier airspace.

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