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Louvre apologises to Qatar for Abu Dhabi franchise's 'Gulf map scandal'

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The Louvre Museum in Paris has apologised to Qatar after its franchise in the United Arab Emirates displayed a map of the Arabian Peninsula that purposely blacked out Qatar.

Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri, the chairman of Qatar's national human rights committee [NHRC], said on Monday that museum officials have promised to open an investigation into the incident at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

"The Louvre Museum administration has apologised and are opening an official investigation into the Louvre Abu Dhabi scandal," Marri said, according to the NHRC.

"Louvre administration will raise the issue next week when French officials travel to the UAE," said Marri, who is visiting France as part of a European tour.

"The scandal at the Louvre Abu Dhabi was an attempt to wipe out the people and state of Qatar and a use of art as a tool to settle political scores," he added.

Last month, the Louvre Abu Dhabi said it replaced the map that omitted Qatar, which has been embroiled in a months-long diplomatic dispute with its Gulf neighbours.

The museum said the map was an "oversight" that had been rectified.

The map, one of several aiming at placing exhibits in their geographical context, was located in the children's section of the museum.

The error was pointed out on January 19 by Qatar's museums head, Al Mayassa Al Thani, who retweeted a picture of the map showing Bahrain and the Gulf coast with a blank sea in the place of Qatar.

The following day, Emirati foreign minister Anwar Gargash said he had been "mystified" by Al Thani's tweet, which "blew a slight oversight out of proportion".

The Louvre Abu Dhabi was inaugurated with great pomp in November by French President Emmanuel Macron and Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The UAE and Qatar have long had sour relations, but they worsened last year when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt in June cut all ties with Doha, including land, sea and air links.

They accused the tiny, gas-rich state of ties to Islamist extremists and being too close to Shiite Iran.

Doha rejected the accusations and accused the states of seeking to take over its foreign policy.



The New Arab

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