MIDDLE EAST

Qatar seeks arbitration to end Saudi-led blockade

Qatar said Wednesday it has a legal process to challenge a blockade imposed by four Arab states since last year.

In June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

"We have already begun moving internationally to seek arbitration or [go to] international courts or UN institutions" to end the blockade, foreign ministry spokeswoman Lulwah al-Khater said in a press conference.

"All options are available for us," she said.

The statements came following a report issued by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) that documented "violations" by the blockade states.

The report suggested that the measures taken to impose blockade are much more than a diplomatic tension but a well-planned economic warfare against Doha.

The spokeswoman said the OHCHR would be used by Doha in the legal process against the blockade.

She voiced hope that the blockade states would engage in dialogue to help resolve the conflict.

The four states have threatened Qatar with additional sanctions if it failed to meet a list of demands, including one for the closure of broadcaster Al Jazeera.

Qatar, however, refused to comply, denying the accusations against it and describing the Saudi-led embargo as a "breach of its national sovereignty".

None of the blockade states has yet commented on Doha's statements on the OHCHR report, however, they have asserted that their moves target the Qatari government not citizens.

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