Canadian PM tells UAE ‘give me a break’ over airline spat

Harper says Canada will pick its allies more carefully after landing rights row with UAE
Canadian PM tells UAE ‘give me a break’ over airline spat
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
By Joanne Bladd
Sun 09 Jan 2011 10:08 AM

Canadian
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has accused the UAE of attempting to capitalise
on Ottawa’s operations in Afghanistan to secure more landing rights for its
flagship airlines.

Harper
said the country would pick its allies more carefully following its political
spat with the Gulf state, which saw the UAE shut down a secret military base
near Dubai used to support Canadian troops in Afghanistan.

Canada’s
transport agency in November declined to give the UAE additional slots at its
airports, despite years of requests from the Gulf state.

“That’s
just not how you treat allies, and I think tells us you better pick your
friends pretty carefully in the future,” Harper said in comments quoted by QMI
Agency.

“I
could never see [Canada] treating an ally like that. Could you imagine after
9/11 if the Americans had come to the Canadian government and said, ‘We need
help on something to do with security’ [and we said] ‘Well, only if you do
something on Buy America.’ I mean, give me a break.”

The
closure of Camp Mirage was a direct hit on Canadian efforts to fight the war on
terror, and should have been exempt from any diplomatic feud between the two
countries, Harper said.

“When
we, as a country, offer to be part of a international mission to help protect
global security, then somebody comes along and uses that to try and leverage
demands on our domestic airline industry, I don’t think that’s a situation we,
as a country, want to be in,” Harper told QMI Agency.

“What this teaches us in
future and when we’re looking at other options is: Don’t get in a place where
somebody’s going to try and use it to leverage some unrelated issue.”

 

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