Qatar says its host­ing of World Cup ‘not up for dis­cus­sion’

Arab News - - INTERNATIONAL -

DUBAI: Qatar on Wednesday strongly crit­i­cized Emi­rati of­fi­cials for ques­tion­ing Doha’s host­ing of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, say­ing that the tour­na­ment “is not up for dis­cus­sion or ne­go­ti­a­tion” amid a diplo­matic cri­sis en­gulf­ing the re­gion.

The back-and-forth over the games comes as four Arab na­tions, in­clud­ing the UAE, have been boy­cotting Qatar for months, in part over al­le­ga­tions that it sup­ports ex­trem­ists and has overly warm ties to Iran. Qatar has long de­nied sup­port­ing ex­trem­ists while it shares a mas­sive off­shore nat­u­ral gas field with Tehran.

On Tues­day, UAE Min­is­ter of State for For­eign Af­fairs An­war Gar­gash wrote on Twit­ter that Qatar’s host­ing of the games should “in­clude a re­pu­di­a­tion of poli­cies sup­port­ing ex­trem­ism & ter­ror­ism.”

The Anti-Ter­ror Quar­tet com­pris­ing Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Ara­bia and the UAE be­gan their boy­cott of Qatar on June 5. Me­di­a­tion ef­forts by Kuwait, the US and oth­ers so far have failed to re­solve the diplo­matic cri­sis, the worst to hit the Gulf since Iraq’s 1990 in­va­sion of Kuwait.

When Qatar’s sole land bor­der with Saudi Ara­bia was closed and sea traf­fic cut off by the boy­cott, World Cup or­ga­niz­ers were forced to in­sti­gate a “Plan B” in­clud­ing bringing in sup­plies from Turkey. Qatari au­thor­i­ties say their ef­forts at build­ing sta­di­ums and in­fra­struc­ture for the tour­na­ment, the first to be held in the Mideast, re­main on track.

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