Dubai: The UAE has strongly denied reports that it was responsible for an alleged hack of Qatari websites earlier this year.
Speaking to reporters following a Chatham House speech in London, Dr Anwar Gargash, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said such an accusation was “purely not true”.
The UAE was not responsible for the alleged hack of Qatari websites, Gargash said. “The Washington Post story today that we actually hacked the Qataris is also not true,” Gargash told the London-based think-tank.
Earlier, in a statement released in Washington, Yousuf Al Otaiba, the UAE Ambassador to the US, said the Washington Post story was “false”.
“The UAE had no role whatsoever in the alleged hacking described in the article,” Al Otaiba said.
Qatar-linked people, groups on terror list
Mohammad Bin Rashid poem urges Qatar to 'return to GCC'
Qatar crisis: Gulf intelligence chiefs meet in Egypt
Qatar’s stubborn stance is baffling
Documents show Qatar violated commitments
'Qatar sheltered 9/11 mastermind for years'
“What is true is Qatar's behavior. Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas and Qadafi. Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbors,” he said in the statement.
In a series of tweets, the UAE Embassy in Washington said the UAE “had no role whatsoever in the alleged hacking described in the article” in Washington Post.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed sanctions on Qatar on June 5, cutting diplomatic and transport ties with the country due to its support for and financing of terrorism.
However, Gargash told the forum in London that the UAE would not escalate its boycott by asking companies to choose between doing business with it or with Qatar.
Dr Ebtisam Al Kitbi, chairwoman of Emirates Policy Centre, questioned the credibility of the report published by the Washington Post and slammed it as “mere fabrications”.
“The report is fake. It used unnamed sources which are fraught with ethical and legal perils for journalists, their employers and their sources,” Dr Al Kitbi said.
“Nothing has been reported from the CIA or FBI and the unreliable report only quotes unnamed sources," Dr Al Kitbi said.
Dr Al Kitbi cited instances when journalists have regretted relying on confidential sources, including the media’s systemic failure to question the Bush administration’s leaks about Saddam Hussain’s alleged stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.
The authenticity of the report is also questioned when readers know that the report only repeated rumours originally published by the Al Jazeerah television station and its offshot media outlets, funded by Qatar.
Dr Al Kitbi said this media campaign is funded by Qatar and meant to divert the attention from its support and funding of terrorist and terrorism.
Dr Abdul Khaleq Abdullah, a leading political analyst, branded the Washington Post’s report “groundless allegations”.
“These frail allegations fit nowhere, but to support terrorism. If there is any motive for this type of a report, it will be a party in the US administration who wishes to put more pressure on the four Arab countries boycotting Qatar to give up their policy or stop any further escalation,” Dr Abdullah said.
Dr Abdullah stressed that the decision of the Gulf countries is clear and in their hands — and not in the hands of Washington or any other party.
“The Gulf countries will never back down on the Qatar issue and these allegations will have no impact whatsoever,” Dr Abdullah said.