Dubai, June 14: Amidst Gulf crisis, the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday denied using any military powers against Qatar but emphasized to apply economic pressure on Doha for allegedly supporting "extremism". Notably, the United Arab Emirates' ambassador to the United States said there was no military aspect to steps taken by Arab powers against Qatar but further economic pressure could be applied.
UAE Ambassador Yousef Al-Otaiba said, "There is absolutely no military component to anything that we are doing." He further said that the measures against Qatar were not an attempt to have the base moved "but if anyone asks we'd be willing to have that conversation." He also pointed out a defence accord that the United States and the UAE signed last month would allow Washington send more troops and equipment there.
The countries have designated dozens of people and entities with alleged links to Qatar as terrorists. When asked what further steps could be taken against Qatar, Otaiba said,"We’ve designated 59 people and 12 entities. It’s likely that you could see designations of their bank accounts and perhaps of the banks themselves. And so there’ll be an escalation of economic pressure, again, short of a policy shift or negotiations that lead to a policy shift."
Otaiba said the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt were compiling a list of demands for Qatar that would be "handed over to the United States fairly soon." He also said that they would broadly address the three areas of support for terrorism, meddling in the internal affairs of these countries and attacks through Qatari-owned media platforms.
Otaiba said the four nations are seeking a shift in Qatar's behaviour through economic and political pressure. "It’s not our goal to undermine the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) but at the same time we don’t want a member of the GCC undermining us," he added.
Interestingly, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and several other nations cut ties with Qatar and imposed stringent economic sanctions on it over supporting extremism. On the other side, Qatar denied all their allegations saying that they never supported Islamist militants and Shi'ite Iran.
However, there were mixed signals given from the United States over Qatar row. U.S. President Donald Trump stepped into the crisis by appearing to side against Qatar and accused Doha on Friday of being a "high level" sponsor of terrorism. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain later welcomed Trump's demand for Qatar to stop supporting terrorism.