Egypt accuses Qatar of paying ransom to 'terrorist group'

Egypt's ambassador to the UN calls for the Security Council to investigate allegations that Qatar paid a ransom to a "terrorist group" in Iraq to release members of its royal family.
Skyscrapers in the Qatari capital Doha on Nov 24, 2015.
Skyscrapers in the Qatari capital Doha on Nov 24, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) - Egypt on Thursday (June 8) asked the United Nations to investigate an enormous ransom that Qatar allegedly paid an ISIS-linked "terrorist group" in order to free members of its royal family detained in Iraq.

Speaking during a Security Council debate on the threat of terrorism, Egypt's deputy ambassador to the UN Ihab Moustafa accused Qatar of paying "up to $1 billion to a terrorist group active in Iraq in order to release members of its royal family kidnapped and detained in Iraq while on a hunting trip."

"If proved correct, it is a clear support to terrorism," he said, noting that the group was linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group.

Several UN resolutions call on member countries not to pay such ransoms or make political concessions to terrorist groups, he said.

The diplomat did not provide evidence or details, but said the press had spoken of it.

"We propose that the Security Council launch a comprehensive investigation into this incident and similar incidents," Moustafa said.

Egypt, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, have severed diplomatic relations with Doha, which they accuse of supporting extremists.