Middle East

UAE claims Qatari aircraft harassed civilian plane with 86 passengers

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) have claimed that Qatari military aircraft have endangered a civilian passenger plane.

According to a report published by the UAE’s WAM news agency on Sunday, Qatari military planes shadowed the Bahraini civilian plane with 86 passengers on board forcing it to engage in evasive maneuvers.

Bahraini aviation authorities also censured the move, stating that the plane was over international waters when the Qatari planes started shadowing it.

“This incident constitutes a clear violation of international regulations, threatens the safety and integrity of international air traffic, poses serious risk… and threatens the lives of passengers and property,” said the statement.

On April 2, the UAE lodged a formal complaint with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), alleging that Qatari warplanes had repeatedly intercepted Emirati civilian aircraft in regular and scheduled flight paths.

The UAE says a number of Qatari fighter jets approached two UAE civilian aircraft during scheduled routine flights last week.

On January 12, Qatar lodged a complaint with the UN about an alleged violation of its airspace on December 21 by an Emirati military plane. Moreover, Doha, also alleged a day later that a second Emirati warplane had violated Qatari airspace as it was traveling from the UAE to Bahrain on January 3, “without prior authorization.”

The Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash at the time flatly denied the accusation relating to the first incident and said Abu Dhabi would send an official response.

On January 15, the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) alleged that Qatar has “intercepted” two Emirati passenger aircraft en route to Bahrain earlier in the day, but Doha strongly rejected the accusation. A day later, the GCAA announced that it was set to lodge a complaint with the UN aviation agency over the purported interceptions.

On January 18, the UAE said that it had filed a formal complaint with the UN over Qatar’s purported interceptions of two Bahrain-bound Emirati passenger planes three days earlier.

The United Arab Emirates is one of four Arab countries, which also include Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, that imposed in June last year a trade and diplomatic embargo on Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism, an allegation strongly denied by Doha.

The quartet of boycotters has also barred Qatari aircraft from using their airspace. Qatar’s only land border with Saudi Arabia has also been blocked as a result.

The Saudi-led bloc then presented Qatar with a list of demands, among them downgrading ties with Iran, and gave it an ultimatum to comply with them or face consequences.

Qatar, however, refused to meet the demands and said that they were meant to force the country to surrender its sovereignty.


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