x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 24 October 2017

Qatar crisis: UN aviation agency rejects Doha bid to internationalise dispute

The International Civil Aviation Organisation says this is not the place to tackle Qatar's problem with its neighbours

The IACO, the UN's civil aviation body has rejected Qatar's complaint against the four boycotting nations, saying it does not get involved in political issues.  AFP Photo
The IACO, the UN's civil aviation body has rejected Qatar's complaint against the four boycotting nations, saying it does not get involved in political issues. AFP Photo

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has declined to get involved in the Qatar crisis after the Gulf state filed a complaint against the four countries that have cut diplomatic, economic and transport ties with it.

From its headquarters in Montreal, Canada, the United Nations agency which oversees global air travel said the ICAO was not the place to sort out the problems between Qatar and the Arab quartet - Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain.

The ICAO has issued a series of resolutions regarding Qatar's complaint against the four countries that have imposed the boycott on Qatar.

''After taking note of the Qatari complaint, the reply from the four counter-terrorism nations and hearing from the ICAO's general secretariat about the flow of air traffic over international waters the ICAO Council acknowledged that political outstanding issues between these concerned states should be tackled in international forums away from the ICAO," said a statement issued by the international aviation body.

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During the ICAO session, the council president remarked that Montreal was only an hour's flight away from New York — a pointed reference to the location of the UN's political headquarters.

Commenting on the ICAO resolutions, Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, director-general of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), said:''These resolutions confirm the neutrality of the ICAO and its commitment to its mandate - the reason why it was founded - for its founding, which is to ensure the safety of civil aviation across the world.''

Mr Al Suwaidi said he valued the ICAO's reluctance to be dragged into political issues.

The council's resolutions acknowledge efforts being made by ICAO and the states concerned to prepare contingency measures in the Gulf region and asked the ICAO general secretariat to continue coordination with those states and their neighbours to ensure a swift implementation of precautionary measures.

READ MORE: Under boycott pressure, Qatar announces visa-free entry for 80 countries

The quartet have opened new emergency routes to ensure smooth flow of air traffic, but stressed they were temporary.

''These routes are granted in exceptional cases and during the increase of air traffic in specific areas. 'The UAE's sovereign airspace is still close to Qatar-registered planes,'' Mr Al Suwaidi said.

The ICAO also welcomed the quartet's commitment to pursuing the best technical solution and requested regular updates and continued cooperation on enhancing safety, efficiency and security.