Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 2 December 2020

UAE and allies to submit Qatar dispute case to UN aviation authority

The International Court of Justice has sent an appeal by the UAE and its neighbours back to the UN aviation authority

Hissa Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the Netherlands, addresses the International Court of Justice. MOFA
Hissa Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the Netherlands, addresses the International Court of Justice. MOFA

The UAE, along with regional allies, plans to submit its case in the ongoing aviation dispute with Qatar to the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Following a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Tuesday, state news agency Wam reported that the UAE would put its legal case to the ICAO, supporting the right to close its airspace to Qatari aircraft.

In 2018, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain, known as the quartet, asked the court in The Hague to rule on an ICAO decision in Qatar’s favour.

Doha accused its neighbours of violating agreements regulating the free passage of commercial passenger planes after they closed their airspace to Qatar in 2017 and severed ties to the country.

Dr Hissa Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the Netherlands, said the Emirates would study the court judgment closely and look to have outstanding questions answered by the ICAO council.

"The ICJ’s decision was technical and limited to procedural issues and jurisdiction to address the dispute; it did not consider the merits of the case," she said in a statement.

“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 10 states, including the UAE.”

"This was in response to Qatar’s long-standing support for terrorist and extremist groups and its active steps to promote unrest in the region,” the ambassador said.

“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,” she said.

Bahrain's ambassador said that his country had full respect for the decisions of the court and the principles of international law in relation to preserving the security, safety and flow of air traffic.

Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohamed Al Khalifa said the two judgments related to whether the ICAO was competent to hear the complaints brought by Qatar under the Chicago Convention of 1944 and the Convention on International Air Services Transit.

Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Abu Hamed, the Saudi Arabian ambassador, said the deliberations had nothing to do with the merits of the complaint submitted by the state of Qatar.

Updated: July 14, 2020 10:35 PM

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