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Wed 15 Jul 2020 09:25 AM

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UAE to present case to ICAO over airspace dispute

International Court of Justice has given ICAO jurisdiction to rule on case with Qatar

UAE to present case to ICAO over airspace dispute

Dr. Hissa Abdullah Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the Netherlands

The UAE is set to put a legal case to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) supporting the right to close its airspace to Qatari aircraft.

It comes following a decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which has given the UN’s ICAO jurisdiction to rule on the case.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain closed their airspace to Qatar in 2017 as part of measures to sever ties with the country, a move Qatar said contravened agreements regarding the free passage of commercial passenger planes.

Back in 2018, the four countries, known as the Quartet, had requested the court in The Hague to rule on an ICAO decision, which backed Qatar.

Dr. Hissa Abdullah Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the Netherlands, said: "We have the highest respect for the court and will be looking at its decision closely. There are important points in the judgement 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.

"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 organisation. 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.

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