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The Qatar crisis: Is there an exit? Image Credit: Luis Vazquez/©Gulf News

Dubai: The World Trade Organisation on Tuesday dropped five charges filed by Qatar against Saudi Arabia, considering them as baseless allegations.

The WTO dispute settlement panel dropped the charges after examining all the documents provided by the Kingdom about Qatar’s policies that rebuffed its proofless claims.

‘The WTO arbitrators did not accept Qatar’s view as Saudi Arabia severed its ties with Qatar due to its interference in internal affairs of other countries,' WTO said in a statement.

The organisation also said that the Kingdom boycott its ties with Qatar because of Doha’s link to terrorism, refusing to halt its support for terrorism, as well as dishonour of agreements.

“Saudi Arabia had to take measures against Qatar in order to safeguard its security, and hence its position toward Doha is justified to protect its security interests,” WTO added.

Saudi permanent representative at WTO in Geneva said: “The real dispute with Qatar is related to GCC’s security interests.”

He revealed that the real dispute before the WTO Dispute Settlement Body is related to the Kingdom’s security interests and not related to the WTO obligations.

“We will continue our efforts to overcome terrorist threats. The WTO panel realised our rights and refused Qatar’s claims that Saudi Arabia supports piracy of broadcasts, “the representative said, rebuffing Qatar’s accusation that the Kingdom pirated its beIN broadcasts.

He underlined the Kingdom’s strong record of intellectual property protection.

The Kingdom published an executive summary of the case filed by Qatar against the Kingdom on issues relating to intellectual property rights.

The representative stressed that the real dispute behind this false intellectual property issue is of diplomatic, political and security crisis among the GCC states, comprising Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, as well as other countries in the region, emanating from the complaining party’s support of terrorism and the promotion of extremism.

“Qatar’s actions violate its international obligations, including its obligations under the Riyadh Agreement,” he said, noting that the Kingdom has had no diplomatic or consular relations with Qatar because the Saudi government concluded that any direct or indirect interaction with Qatar would harm the country’s essential security interests.

In summary, the Saudi representative said the Kingdom has limited its engagement in this dispute to submitting arguments on the application of Security Exceptions under Article 73 of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement), and providing the panel with information regarding its bona fide invocation of the Security Exceptions.

It stated that the complaining party’s intention to use WTO proceedings is to create a sort of false impression among the international community, including third party participants in this dispute that the complaining party and Saudi Arabia deal with each other on cordial terms. Nothing could be further from the truth. Saudi Arabia will not interact with the complaining party until it conforms to international norms prohibiting state support for terrorism and rejects extremism, as it agreed to under the Riyadh Agreements.

The mission noted that based on Saudi Arabia’s approach to protecting its essential security interests, it has avoided all direct or indirect interaction with the complaining party throughout these proceedings. It stated that the Kingdom profoundly regrets that a geopolitical confrontation with terrorism and extremism is unfolding before the panel in the guise of a dispute about WTO rules.

The mission pointed out that Saudi Arabia has proven an emergency situation in international relations resulting from the complaining party’s support for terrorism and extremism. In particular, the complaining party, as a signatory of the Riyadh agreements and the mechanism for implementing the Riyadh agreements known as the Implementation Mechanism, agreed that the Riyadh agreements are the basis for maintaining the security and stability of the GCC states against the impact of terrorism and extremism.

The actions of the complaining party violate its international obligations, including under the “Riyadh Agreements that were entered into by the GCC Countries between 2013 and 2014 in a collective effort to address the dangers of terrorism and extremism based on a common definition and approach to protecting shared essential security interests.

Between November 2014 and June 2017 and thereafter, Qatar continued to act against the essential security interests of Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region, in violation of the explicit terms of the Riyadh Agreements, he said.

As recent revelations continue to show, the acts of the complaining party continue to pose serious threats to the region and to the global community agreements by engaging in acts, interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, harboring individuals and extremist organizations classified as terrorists, supporting terrorist groups and granting them media platforms, and engaging in activities that threaten the security and stability of the Gulf states, he added.