UAE Denies Involvement in QNA Hacking

The United Arab Emirates was not responsible for an alleged hack of Qatari websites which helped spark a month-long diplomatic rift with Doha, the UAE’s foreign minister said on Monday.

“The Washington Post story today that we actually hacked the Qataris is also not true,” Anwar Gargash, the UAE state minister for foreign affairs told the London-based think-tank Chatham House.

Asked about a Washington Post report citing US intelligence officials saying the UAE may have been behind the hack, Gargash said it was “purely not true”.

“This is our message: You cannot be part of a regional organization dedicated to strengthening mutual security and furthering mutual interest and at the same time undermine that security,” he said.
“You cannot be both our friend and a friend of al-Qaeda.”

Saudi Arabia and its allies imposed sanctions on Doha on June 5, including closing its only land border, denying Qatar access to their airspace and ordering their citizens back from the emirate.
“We’ve sent a message to Qatar. We’ve said we are not there to escalate. We are not after regime change. We are after a change of behavior,” Gargash said.

“We need to do that and when we do that, come back to the fold and we can work together,” he added.
Regarding the possibility of Qatar being excluded from the GCC, Gargash said: “The GCC is in crisis and I don’t think it serves our purposes to say let’s take Qatar out.”

“What we really do want is we either reach an agreement and Qatar’s behavior changes, or Qatar makes it own bed and they can move on and we can move with a new relationship. But we cannot have a member who is undermining us and supporting extremism,” he said.

The Qatari foreign ministry said in a statement neighboring countries have shown readiness to participate in the investigation of the alleged hacking of the Qatari state-owned Qatar News Agency (QNA) website, stressing that Qatar will take all means, measures and legal procedures necessary to prosecute perpetrators, Russia’s Sputnik reported.

Doha has continued to push with allegations on QNA hacking, but the publication of statements by the Emir of Qatar on more than one QNA-linked platform on social communication raises much doubt on the website’s security being compromised.

Many signs confirm the “Al Jazeera” justification story on QNA hacking is potentially false news.

King Salman Attends Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival

Abu Dhabi and Doha – Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman begins on Monday a two-day official visit in Qatar where means of enhancing the well-established fraternal relations between the two countries will be discussed in addition to the latest developments on the regional and international arenas.

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani will lead well-wishers to welcome the Custodian of King Salman.

On Sunday, King Salman attended the celebrations of the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival in al-Wathba in Abu Dhabi.

King Salman arrived in Abu Dhabi on Saturday on the first leg of a Gulf tour that will also take him to Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait. He was received by Sheikh Muhammad Bin Rashid Al Maktum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Muhammad Bin Zayed Al Nahayan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Sheikh Muhammad Bin Zayed Al Nahayan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, decorated the King with Zayed Order, the most prestigious order of the UAE, during a banquet dinner held at al-Musharaf Palace in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

The celebrations started with ‘Ayyalah’ traditional folk dance, welcoming King Salman, which was followed by the “March of the Union,” a cultural treat marking the occasion of the 45th National Day of UAE, presented by artists belonging to various tribes from different emirates of UAE.

The King and other guests also watched a horse and camel show.

Famous poet Juma al-Suwaidi recited a poem welcoming King Salman. A popular poem by Saif al-Kaabi was also sung on the occasion. King Salman then toured the heritage village and was briefed on the heritage exhibits and pavilions.

The festival was attended by the King’s accompanying delegation, including Prince Abdulilah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Advisor to the King, Prince Khalid bin Bandar, Advisor to the King, Prince Mansur bin Miteb bin Abdulaziz, the Minister of State and Member of the Cabinet, other royal and non-royal princes, and ministers.

The Union rally was attended by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai; Sheikh Rashid bin Saud bin Rashid Al Mualla, Crown Prince of Umm al-Qaiwain, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Eastern Region; Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi; Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior; Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs; Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court; Sheikh Omar bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan for Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation; Sheikh Khalid bin Zayed Al Nahyan Chairman of the Board of Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care amp; Special Needs; a number of Sheikhs and senior UAE and Saudi officials.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Qatari FM Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani, said: “For us, Saudi Arabia represents the Gulf and Arab strategic depth. The Qatari-Saudi coordination is held on the highest levels with a similar vision in several regional and Arab issues, particularly those related to enhancing the joint Arab efforts.”

Prior to the arrival of the King at Doha, Qatar, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported that the visit is a consolidation of the distinguished strong historic and fraternal relations between the two brotherly countries.

The mutual visits between the two brotherly countries represent a chance to enhance the brotherly relations between the two countries and peoples while offering a suitable opportunity to discuss issues of mutual interest as well as regional and international issues.

QNA also added that the visit stresses the conformity of the two countries’ policies and positions in all Arab issues including Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya as well as counter-terrorism issues, which now threatens the region in the multiple forms.

Qatar plays a great role in the Arab coalition to restore legitimacy in Yemen within its ‘Restoring Hope’ and ‘Decisive Storm’ operations along with the Arab, Islamic and Gulf countries participating in the coalition to protect the legitimate rights in Yemen and repel attempts to tamper the security of Saudi Arabia which is the security of the Gulf and the entire region.

Trade and economic relations between Doha and Riyadh present an excellent model of the integration and strength of joint interests between the two countries.

Earlier, “Made in Qatar Exhibition 2016” was organized by the Qatar Chamber for the first time in Saudi Arabia on the sidelines of the Qatari- Saudi Economic Forum.

Economic relations enjoy great support on both government and private sectors, where work is continuing, through the meetings of Saudi-Qatari Business Council, for further cooperation between businessmen in the two countries and to overcome any obstacles they may encounter.

Qatari-Saudi trade volume reached about SR7 billion in 2015, with 315 companies -fully owned by Saudis- and 303 joint companies working in Qatar with a total capital of SR1.252 billion.