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GENEVA, June 30 (Reuters) - Trade restrictions imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are justified by national security, Bahrain's representative told a World Trade Organization meeting on Friday, a trade official who attended the meeting said.
Speaking on behalf of all three countries, the Bahraini diplomat at the WTO's Goods Council said the measures were "in accordance with Article XXI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade", which allows the usual rules to be broken for national security reasons, the official said.
It is extremely rare, perhaps unprecedented, in the WTO's 22-year history for a country to explicitly and formally cite the "national security exemption" to pre-empt a potential trade dispute. (Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Louise Ireland)