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Wed 24 Jan 2018 01:34 PM

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UAE military to fly alternative routes to avoid Qatari jet contact

UAE Air Force Brigadier General Helal Saeed Al Qubaisi says planes will fly over Saudi Arabia

UAE military to fly alternative routes to avoid Qatari jet contact
(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

UAE military aircraft are to fly alternative routes over Saudi Arabia in an effort to avoid contact with Qatari fighter jets which intercepted two passenger planes earlier this month.

UAE Air Force Brigadier General Helal Saeed Al Qubaisi said in comments published by state news agency WAM that Qatari provocative practices will not affect traffic of the UAE military aircraft.

"We have directives from our leadership not to escalate the situation in response to the Qatari provocation in order to maintain regional peace and stability and ensure the safety of the international air navigation and lives of passengers and air crews. However, we will follow all legal international measures and channels against Qatari practices," he was quoted as saying.

He added that the UAE has renewed its rejection and condemnation of the Qatari practices of "targeting military and civilian aviation and threatening regional security and peace".

Al Qubaisi claimed Qatari jets had intercepted UAE military aircraft flying over the Arabian Gulf, in addition to the passenger planes.

He also denounced "Qatar's twisting of facts and fabrication of false allegations".

The UAE said on Thursday it had submitted a note to the presidents of the UN Security Council and the United Nations General Assembly after Qatari jets came within little more than 3km of Emirati passenger flights.

The move, in accordance with the provisions of the UN Charter, following Qatar's "threat to the lives of civilians" during the incidents on January 15.

The note submitted by the UAE describes "irresponsible behaviour by the State of Qatar" and an "unjustifiable escalation and threat to the safety of civil flights" in contravention of international law.

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