A giant image of the Emir of Qatar Shaikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, adorns a tower in Doha, Qatar. Image Credit: AP

The Hague: The UAE on Thursday called on Doha to stop “supporting terrorist groups and individuals” as it strongly denied discriminatory measures against Qatari citizens before the UN’s top court.

The bitter Gulf crisis pitting Doha against its neighbours including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain moved to the international courts on Wednesday, with Qatar accusing the UAE of fostering an “environment of hate” against its citizens.

But the UAE’s representatives on Thursday fired back, saying it cut relations with Qatar “because of its support for terrorism, its interference with the affairs of its neighbours and its dissemination of hate speech.”

“Our government has asked Qatar time-and-again to seize this conduct,” the UAE’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Saeed Al Nowais, told the International Court of Justice.

“Although Qatar repeatedly committed to do so, it has failed to live up to its commitments,” Al Nowais said.

Qatar earlier this month dragged the UAE before The Hague-based body — which rules in disputes between countries — accusing it of racism and human rights abuses against its citizens.

The legal moves at the ICJ come a year after Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut all ties with Doha accusing it of supporting terrorism and Iran.

Doha’s lawyers on Wednesday told a 16-judge bench at the tribunal that the UAE has implemented a “series of broad discriminatory measures” against Qataris including expelling them, stopping their access to health care and criminalising any statements that express sympathy with Qatar.

The UAE representative, Al Nowais, however said his country “completely rejects the allegations, all of which are without any merit or basis.”

“Qatar has put forward no credible evidence to substantiate any of these claims,” he said, adding it consisted “only of anecdotal and unverified statements,” he said.

Diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis have so far proved fruitless.