The UAE on Thursday denied taking any administrative or legal steps to remove Qataris from the country since imposing a boycott on Qatar in 2017.
The emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt closed diplomatic, trade and travel links with Qatar on June 5 last year over the country’s alleged support of terrorist groups.
Qatar has said those measures also included violations of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) as they saw Qataris expelled from the UAE and blocked from returning.
It has filed a case against the UAE at the United Nations’ International Court of Justice as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt are not signatories of the CERD convention.
The UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said in a statement to state news agency WAM that measures including an order giving Qatari citizens two weeks to leave the country had been taken in relation to the protection of national security.
However, it said it had not taken “any administrative or legal measures to remove Qataris from the UAE” and no decisions were taken to deport Qatari nationals after the end of the 14-day period.
Furthermore, it argued that the order only meant Qataris must obtain a prior permit to enter the UAE and not that they were blocked from entering the country entirely.
It added that “Qataris who are already resident in the UAE will not need to obtain such a permit in order to continue their stay in the UAE”.
The emirates went on to repeat calls for Qatar to end its alleged support of terrorist groups, interference in the affairs of neighbouring countries and interference in the internal affairs of neighbouring countries.
It has now been 13 months since the boycott began with little sign of an end in sight.
Last month, the four countries filed their own case with the International Court of Justice regarding a sovereign airspace dispute that has seen Qatari aircraft banned from entering their air space.