UN agency says to broker talks over Gulf-Qatar air rights

Senior envoys from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain will gather at the International Civil Aviation Organisation

A United Nations agency will broker a meeting between Qatari aviation officials and counterparts from Arab countries, as the tiny Gulf nation tries to regain air rights and mitigate the economic fallout of the crisis.

Senior envoys from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain will gather at the International Civil Aviation Organisation this week to continue diplomatic discussions about the flight embargo, the UN agency said by email.

ICAO has been reviewing requests from Qatar to ease a ban that its government deems illegal.

Qatar’s neighbours severed diplomatic and transport links to punish it for allegedly backing Islamic militants, a charge the Gulf nation denies.

The resulting isolation has forced the world’s richest country by capita to open new trade routes to import food and other essentials, and added hours to flight times as pilots circumvent its neighbours’ airspace.

ICAO is working to “bring these states together towards a solution which satisfies both their current regional concerns and the global needs and expectations of passengers and shippers,” the agency said in its email.

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