Browsing 'Ministry of Foreign Affairs' News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar’s ambassador to the UAE has said he will look into the case of two Qatari citizens who were apparently detained at the Al Ghuwaifat border crossing between Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia late last month.

The two detained men’s families have apparently complained to the Qatari government about the incident, which they said occurred on June 27.

In Qatar, local media has been reporting that the men were on holiday, while UAE press has suggested they are spies.

In a statement to QNA, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the ambassador in Abu Dhabi would inquire about the fate of Hamad Ali Al Hammadi and Yousuf Abdul Samad Al Mullah.

Online concern

The information comes days after Al Arab reported that three Qataris were detained while visiting the UAE and were being tortured in prison there.

That report sparked an online outcry, prompting Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to tweet:

“The State has never abandoned its people. It is taking all the necessary action through legal and diplomatic channels.”

At that time, MOFA stopped short of confirming anyone had been detained.

This may have been because, according to a ministry representative, “that the State of Qatar has not been officially informed of what had happened to the two citizens by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).”

Another local newspaper, Al Sharq, later reported that only two citizens were involved.

Latest diplomatic test

Qatar and UAE relations have been growing increasingly strained over the past year for several reasons, including:

The tensions have been spilling over in the media, with Al Arab urging Qatari citizens to avoid traveling or transiting through the UAE “because of the danger of arrest and detention that this poses.”

Meanwhile, UAE press appears to be accusing the two Qataris of being spies.

According to Reuters:

“On its front page the Arabic-language al-Khaleej newspaper dismissed the assertion that those arrested were tourists, quoting unnamed sources as saying that authorities were holding ‘Qatari intelligence elements operating on UAE soil.’

‘They are currently undergoing questioning,’ the privately owned newspaper, one of the oldest in the UAE, said, without giving further details.”

Thoughts?

GCC

Wikimedia Commons

Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has sought to reassure its citizens of their safety after a local newspaper here published a report claiming three Qataris had been detained and tortured in the UAE.

On Sunday, Al Arab reported:

“Abu Dhabi inhumanely arrested three Qatar citizens who were traveling to the UAE for tourism and to visit their relatives. There is information that the three citizens are currently being tortured in prison.”

The report caused a swift reaction on Twitter, with people taking to social media to ask for more information about the issue.

Though it would not confirm whether any Qataris had been recently detained while visiting the UAE, the foreign affairs ministry published a brief update on its website yesterday.

It stated that the Consul General of Qatar had met with the Dubai Police Commander in Chief this week to discuss “bilateral ties and ways of developing them in all fields.”

Twitter response

MOFA also sought to calm down agitated tweeters last night, posting:

Translation: “The State has never abandoned its people. It is taking all the necessary action through legal and diplomatic channels.”

Unhappy with the ambiguity of this message, one tweeter responded:

Translation: “You are falling short on explaining exactly what happens to Qataris in the Emirates. You are not taking your role seriously before the Qatari people. This is the third case.”

Others were more appreciative:

Translation: “This is what we expect from you, our government. We have all the trust in our rulers and their efforts. May God protect our children and Qatar.”

MOFA also said:

Translation: “The efforts exerted by MOFA are not disclosed until they are finalized.”

Translation: “We hope that they (MOFA’s efforts) are announced so that the Qatari people can be reassured.”

For its part, Al Arab urged Qatari citizens to avoid traveling or transiting through the UAE “because of the danger of arrest and detention that this poses.”

That advice prompted some ridicule on Twitter:

Translation: “Who is this Al-Arab newspaper to warn citizens not to travel to the Emirates? Is it now the spokesman for the ministry?”

Relations

The relationship between Qatar and the UAE have hit many bumps over the past year.

This in part due to the detention and conviction of Dr. Mahmood Abdulrehman Al Jaidah, who in March was sentenced to seven years in a UAE jail for “financially and morally supporting” members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a charge he denied.

Emirati authorities first detained Al Jaidah in February 2013 as he was making a transit stop at the Dubai International Airport en route to Doha from Bangkok. Human rights groups condemned the doctor’s treatment, saying he was denied due process and tortured in prison.

Dahi Khalfan

Dubai Police/Facebook

Qatar and the UAE also do not appear to see eye-to-eye on the political situation in Egypt, which analysts cite as the reason the UAE has not returned its ambassador to Qatar after recalling him in March.

Though tensions were thought to have been smoothed over, in April, a senior Emirati security official drew scorn after tweeting that Qatar should be the UAE’s eighth emirate.

That Qatar will not formally confirm whether any new nationals have been jailed in the UAE suggests the matter is being handled through diplomatic channels before tension gets any higher.

Thoughts?