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On instructions from our respective Governments, we are writing to you in response to the statement made by the Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations before the Security Council through video link at the Council’s open debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, on 21 July 2020, as well as to the letter dated 18 August 2020 from the Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2020/810).

The quartet States of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates vehemently reject the false accusations and misstatements of fact made against our States by the Permanent Representative of Qatar in her statement on 21 July 2020. The Council’s quarterly discussion on the Middle East is an important forum to discuss the many crises afflicting our region, and it is therefore disappointing that the Permanent Representative of Qatar sought to misuse this open debate.

Contrary to the falsehoods shared by the Permanent Representative of Qatar, the measures taken by the quartet States in response to Qatar’s consistent and continued support for terrorism and extremism and interference in domestic affairs are in full compliance with international law. These justified and proportionate measures are directed exclusively against the unlawful actions of the Qatari regime, and our Governments reiterate our utmost respect and regard for the people of Qatar.

The misleading nature of the Permanent Representative’s comments is evident with respect to her comments regarding the report of the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization dated 16 June 2020. In particular, it is unfortunate that the Permanent Representative neglected to mention that the Dispute Settlement Body fully accepted, under the national security exception, that the measures adopted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to protect itself and its people from terrorism and extremism were justified under international law. The Permanent Representative also failed to mention that the Dispute Settlement Body rejected claims that the Kingdom’s intellectual property laws violated World Trade Organization rules, as well as claims that the Kingdom supported the alleged copyright piracy.

The Permanent Representative of Qatar’s comments regarding other proceedings currently before international dispute settlement bodies are similarly incorrect and misleading. All of the other orders and decisions referenced by the Permanent Representative of Qatar address procedural matters in the preliminary phases of proceedings that are still pending; none have addressed the merits of Qatar’s baseless claims. In this regard, the Permanent Representative of Qatar’s unfortunate assertion that these procedural decisions somehow validate Qatar’s claims is not only incorrect in law, it also pre-empts the proper procedures for dispute settlement under international law.

Regrettably, it is apparent that the expressions of Qatar’s commitment to international law made by the Permanent Representative of Qatar are mere platitudes that are directly contradicted by her Government’s consistent and continuing pattern of destabilizing behaviour across the region. The quartet States call upon Qatar to respect its international obligations, including its obligations under the Riyadh Agreement of 2013, its implementing mechanism of 2014 and the supplementary Riyadh Agreement of 2014 (United Nations, Treaty Series, No. 55378), and to desist from its policy of supporting extremism, terrorism and terrorist organizations, interfering in the internal affairs of neighbouring States and giving a platform to extremists through media networks that are owned or supported by the Government of Qatar.

The quartet States remain open and willing to reach a sincere and sustainable diplomatic solution to the crisis. Unfortunately, however, and contrary to the claims of its Permanent Representative, Qatar appears to be more interested in internationalizing the dispute and defaming the reputation of the quartet States, including by propagating false claims through its statements at international forums and its media networks. Such behaviour by Qatar, together with its refusal to address its support for terrorist and extremist groups, continues to prevent the peaceful resolution of the crisis.

The quartet States take this opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to complying with all their obligations under international law.

We should be grateful if the present letter could be circulated as a document of the Security Council.