Alwaght- Qatar has filed a complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) over a four-month old blockade imposed by Saudi-led regime against the Persian Gulf state.
Qatar turned to the WTO in August, insisting it was the victim of an "illegal siege" by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, which have cut ties with Doha over its links to Iran and accusations that it supports extremists.
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 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 dispute settlement process at the WTO can take months, if not years, with initial rulings typically subject to appeal.
In early June, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting extremism and interfering in their internal affairs. The four Arab states also embargoed all sea, air and land routes to the small Persian Gulf emirate, which affected mixed marriage families and students, residing in other Arab states and cut off vital routes for imports including food.
On June 22, the group issued a 13-point list of demands, including the shutdown of Al Jazeera, limiting ties with Iran, and expelling Turkish troops stationed in the country as a prerequisite to lifting the blockade.
Doha rejected all the demands, denouncing them as an attempt to infringe on Qatar's sovereignty.