UAE to fight Qatar airspace case at world civil aviation body

Qatar's jets have been blocked from UAE airspace since 2017. (AFP/FIle)
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Updated 15 July 2020

UAE to fight Qatar airspace case at world civil aviation body

  • UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt to continue fight to keep Qatar's planes from their skies despite ICJ ruling
  • UN's highest court says the International Civil Aviation Organisation does have jurisdiction to rule in the dispute

LONDON: The UAE said Tuesday it would take its legal case to keep Qatari planes from its airspace to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) after a ruling in the UN’s highest court.

In a procedural ruling, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) said the ICAO has jurisdiction to rule in the aviation dispute.

The UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia were appealing a June 2018 decision by the ICAO, which dismissed their claim that the body should not be making judgements in the dispute.

 

 

Dr. Hissa Abdullah Al-Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador to the Netherlands, said 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.”

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

The case stems from a boycott of Qatar launched by the four countries in 2017 over its support for extremist groups. The quartet cut trade, transport and diplomatic links to Qatar, including access to their airspaces. Six other governments joined the action.

Al-Otaiba said the UAE was looking 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.”

She said the UAE’s airspace measures against Qatar remain in effect.

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