March 9, 2018 / 2:18 PM / 6 months ago

Qatar accuses UAE of seizing eight-man fishing boat

(Reuters) - Qatar accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Friday of seizing a fishing boat and forcing its eight occupants to enter Emirati waters at gunpoint, the latest accusation in a nine-month row between the Gulf Arab neighbors.

The UAE, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, imposed travel, diplomatic and trade sanctions on Qatar last June, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Qatar denies that charge and says the four adversaries aim to curtail its sovereignty.

Qatar’s permanent representative to the United Nations informed the U.N. Secretary General and Security Council President that its marine surveillance had observed a UAE naval ship obstruct and then commandeer the Qatari fishing boat on Jan. 19, a foreign ministry statement said.

“The incident constituted a kidnapping and is a dangerous precedent and a severe violation of international norms,” it added.

There was no immediate comment from the Emirati authorities.

Mediation efforts, including by the United States, have failed to resolve the dispute, though Washington hopes to make progress before hosting a Gulf Cooperation Council summit later this year.

In January, the UAE said Qatari air force jets had twice intercepted its civilian aircraft during routine flights to Bahrain, which Qatar denied.

Reporting by Reuters staff; Editing by London desk

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