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Qatar advances blockade case at WTO


Geneva: Qatar has asked the World Trade Organization to set up a panel to arbitrate its complaint against Gulf neighbours over a four-month old blockade, sources at the global trade body said Friday. Qatar turned to the WTO in August, insisting it was the victim of an illegal siege perpetrated by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which have cut ties with Doha.

In the initial WTO filing, Qatar requested “consultations” with its rivals, a procedural move required by the Geneva-based organisation before a Dispute Settlement Body panel (DBS) can be set up.

In a document dated Thursday, the WTO said the UAE had refused consultations with Doha, meaning a dispute panel will almost certainly be set up.

It was not immediately clear whether Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have also rejected negotiations with Qatar at the WTO.

The economic and political sanctions imposed on Qatar have triggered one of the biggest crises to hit the Gulf region in decades.

 Source: Peninsula News