UAE minister responds to hacking claims

The hacked emails allegedly reveal the UAE's efforts over the years to sway USA policymakers to its side of the dispute against Qatar. Later, it blamed the UAE for the planted story - an allegation backed up by the U.S. intelligence sources quoted in the Washington Post on Sunday.

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". Gargash also denied reports that the UAE had threatened Federation Internationale de Football Association over continuing to allow Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup.

This is a developing story; keep an eye on this space for latest news.

A new report by the Washington Post, citing U.S. intelligence, says there is evidence that the United Arab Emirates coordinated the hacking of Qatar's state media agency (QNA), which led to the blockade of the Gulf monarchy.

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 minister of state for foreign affairs said on Monday. They pointed out that the decision was taken after the four states uncovered evidence about Qatar's sponsorship and funding of terrorist groups, which threaten the region's security and stability.

The UAE-assisted hacking on Qatar's official social media and news sites came to fore after the US Federal Bureau of Investigation joined local government forces to probe the cyber attack.

The UAE has denied the hacking claims in a statement released in Washington by its ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba.

"What is true is Qatar's behaviour".

He went on to accuse Qatar of "funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas and Gaddafi".

With US spy agencies now apparently briefing against them, Qatar's antagonists may conclude US sympathy for their position is rapidly dwindling.

"You can not be both our friend and a friend of al-Qaeda".

The first on the list of 13 sweeping demands that the Gulf states and Egypt placed before Qatar in the form of ultimatum is a complete severing of ties of Iran.

On his departure Mr Tillerson had left proposals with the Saudi-led bloc and Qatar which included "a common set of principles that all countries can agree to so that we start from. a common place", Robert Hammond said on Saturday, but "we don't expect any near-term resolution".

"I understand the concern of our allies", he added.

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