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No apparent Arab plans to push for Qatar-linked U.N. sanctions - diplomats
June 14, 2017 / 5:42 PM / 2 months ago

No apparent Arab plans to push for Qatar-linked U.N. sanctions - diplomats

A view shows Abu Samra border crossing to Saudi Arabia, in Qatar June 12, 2017.Tom Finn

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - There are no apparent plans by Arab states to propose that names from their Qatar blacklist be subjected to United Nations sanctions, diplomats said on Wednesday, a likely difficult move that would need approval by the 15-member U.N. Security Council.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain on Friday branded 59 people, including Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi, as terrorists and 12 entities, among them Qatari-funded charities Qatar Charity and Eid Charity, as having links to terrorism.

The move came days after the four Arab states severed relations with Qatar, accusing it of supporting Islamist militants and their arch-adversary Iran, charges Qatar rejects. Several other countries followed suit.

At least six of the people on the Arab states blacklist are already named on the U.N. Security Council al Qaeda and Islamic State sanctions list, which subjects them to a global asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed sanctions on al Qaeda, Islamic State, the Taliban and related groups and people with ties to them. Iran is also subjected to a U.N. arms embargo.

The Arab states would need to link people or entities on their blacklist to those U.N. sanctioned groups or to breaches of the Iran arms embargo if they wanted to propose that they be subjected to U.N. sanctions.

For any names to be added to U.N. sanctions lists the Security Council can either agree by consensus behind closed doors or vote on a resolution, which would need nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the United States, Britain, France, Russia or China.

The biggest diplomatic rift in years among the rich states of the Gulf has become a major test for the United States, which is closely allied to the countries on both sides. Qatar hosts the Middle East headquarters for U.S. air forces; Bahrain hosts the main base for the U.S. Navy.

The United Nations has said it is only bound by the U.N. Security Council sanctions lists and therefore any work with Qatar Charity was unaffected by the Arab states' blacklist.

"The Qatar Charity implements projects included in the U.N.-coordinated Humanitarian Response Plans in Yemen, in Syria, and in Iraq, where they also participate in the common humanitarian coordination structure," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

He said the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs does "not provide funding for them and we do not receive funding from them."

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by James Dalgleish

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