UAE ambassador threatens further sanctions against Qatar

UAE ambassador to Russia, Omar Gobash, said the expulsion of Qatar from the GCC was ‘not the only sanction available’

Gulf Arab states are considering fresh sanctions on Qatar and could ask their trading partners to choose between working with them or Doha, the United Arab Emirates ambassador to Russia said in an interview with The Guardian newspaper.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain severed diplomatic and travel ties with Qatar this month, accusing it of funding hardline Islamist militant groups in the region, a charge Doha denies.

“There are certain economic sanctions that we can take which are being considered right now,” Omar Ghobash told the newspaper in an interview in London.

“One possibility would be to impose conditions on our own trading partners and say you want to work with us then you have got to make a commercial choice,” he said.

He also said the coalition would be willing to make themselves subject to the same western monitoring system as Qatar to ensure key figures are not privately funding extremist groups.

He said the expulsion of Qatar from the Gulf Cooperation Council was “not the only sanction available”.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain have imposed an economic and diplomatic embargo on Qatar, claiming its ruling family has been harbouring terrorists and funding extremism for years.

They listed 13 demands and said that Qatar must comply by next week or face further as yet unspecified consequences. The demands include cutting ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, closing the broadcaster Aljazeera and reducing ties with Iran.