France aims to be 'facilitator' in Gulf crisis talks

Evrard Martin
Juillet 18, 2017

BBC Sports reports that the story first appeared on Saturday night and claimed that Infantino had told The Local that Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt wrote to Fifa to ask that the world football's governing body remove Qatar as hosts.

The statement went on to say that the Washington Post report "unequivocally proves that this hacking crime took place".

The UAE was behind a hacking campaign against Doha which sparked a diplomatic crisis in the Gulf region, United States intelligence sources have said, after false statements attributed to Qatar's emir were posted on an official news agency website.

Quoting unnamed USA intelligence officials, the paper said senior members of the Emirati government discussed the plan on May 23.

The Qatari emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, had been falsely quoted in May as praising Hamas and saying that Iran was an "Islamic power", the Post reported.

The Post's report states that it "remains unclear" if it was UAE hackers who carried out the attack or if it "contracted" others to hack Qatari media.

The Post said officials became aware of the UAE's role in the hack after newly analyzed information gathered by members of the US intelligence community revealed senior members of UAE's government discussed the plans and how to implement the attack.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed sanctions on Qatar on June 5, cutting diplomatic and transport ties with the country due to its support for and financing of terrorism.

The four Arab states accuse Qatar of maintaining ties to Iran and of funding Islamist extremist groups.

He said: "The Washington Post story is not true".

From the onset of the situation, Qatar has maintained its innocence and, to date, no evidence has been brought forward by the bloc to support the allegations made against it. According to a source close to Qatar's officials, the Gulf state also have not received a copy of the letter sent to Federation Internationale de Football Association.

The article, doctored to look like it came from The Local's website, claimed that the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt along with Yemen and Mauritania wrote to Federation Internationale de Football Association. "Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbors".

Representatives of the Saudi government in the United States, have not commented at this time about the letter.

The refinancing of a $1 billion loan by Doha Festival City, a retail and hospitality complex in Qatar, has been indefinitely postponed as a diplomatic crisis deters regional banks from doing new Qatari business, bankers said.

It is understood the FBI has been assisting Qatar with an investigation into the hack for several weeks.

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