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Arab Quartet Turns to ICAO over Right to Close their Airspace to Qatari aircraft

Arab Quartet Turns to ICAO over Right to Close their Airspace to Qatari aircraft

Wednesday, 15 July, 2020 - 06:15
Residents walk along Doha's Corniche beneath the city's skyscrapers. (Getty Images)
Riyadh – Asharq Al-Awsat

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will turn to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) over their right to close their airspace to Qatari aircraft in wake of an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling that said the organization has jurisdiction over Doha’s civil aviation allegations.

The four countries had severed their diplomatic and economic relations with Qatar in June 2017 over its support of terrorism and constant attempts to destabilize the region.

Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the Netherlands Abdulaziz Abu Haimad said the Kingdom respects the ICJ’s decision, but said the ruling over the airspace dispute with Qatar has nothing to do with the merits of the lawsuit filed by Doha.

The UAE announced that it will turn to ICAO over its decision to block Qatar from its airspace.

“The ICJ’s decision was technical and limited to procedural issues and jurisdiction to address the dispute; it did not consider the merits of the case,” said Dr. Hissa Abdullah Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the Netherlands, according to the UAE news agency (WAM).

“We have the highest respect for the Court and will be looking at its decision closely. There are important points in the judgment that the UAE and Quartet will rely on in proceedings before the ICAO Council.”

“We note that other important questions have been left unanswered by the judgment; issues that we will address in front of the ICAO Council.”

“We look forward to explaining to the ICAO Council that the UAE restricted Qatari planes from UAE airspace as one of a number of measures flowing from the termination of relations by ten states, including the UAE,” Al Otaiba said.

“This was in response to Qatar’s longstanding support for terrorist and extremist groups and its active steps to promote unrest in the region. The UAE believes that the Council will not attempt to second-guess the national security decisions of ICAO member states. In the meantime, the UAE’s airspace measures remain in effect.

“This crisis will not be resolved in ICAO or in any other international organization. Relations will only improve when Qatar implements the Riyadh Agreements and is willing to demonstrate that it will play a constructive role in the region,” she added.

Bahrain’s non-resident to the Netherlands Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohamed Al Khalifa said the ICJ ruling has no impact on the dispute with Qatar.

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