UAE and UN Security Council meet to discuss Qatar

Gargash: Response to Qatar intercepting UAE planes will be 'balanced and legal'

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash is seen posing for a family picture at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) at the Bayan palace in Kuwait City on December 5, 2017.
The Gulf Cooperation Council, which launches its annual summit today in Kuwait amid its deepest ever internal crisis, comprises six Arab monarchies who sit on a third of the world's oil. A political and economic union, the GCC comprises Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain. Dominated by Riyadh, it is a major regional counterweight to rival Iran.

The UAE hosted on Wednesday a meeting with ambassadors from UN Security Council member countries and other members of the quartet boycotting Doha to discuss Qatar’s interception of two Emirati passenger planes.

According to UAE state news agency Wam, representatives from the Emirates’ Armed Forces and the Civil Aviation Authority met with the diplomat from UN Security Council member countries as well as ambassadors from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt to discuss the recent escalation of tension between the UAE and Qatar. The meeting took place two days after Qatari fighter jets intercepted two Emirati commercial flights.

The representative of the Armed Forces also reviewed the route that was taken by the UAE planes that Qatar last week accused of having violated its airspace.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash said during the meeting that what the Qatari authorities had done against the UAE aircraft and the safety of airspace and civilians confirmed that Qatar has no intention of trying to deescalate tensions.

Dr Gargash also tweeted on Wednesday that the UAE's response to Qatar’s jets intercepting two Emirati civilian aircraft will be "balanced and legal", adding that Doha's recent behaviour indicates its increased concern and confusion.

"There are two explanations to the developments in the Qatar crisis and the exposure of the civilian planes. First, it is Qatar's increased concern and confusion, and second, it was a desperate attempt in fear of marginalisation," Dr Gargash tweeted.

“Our response will be balanced and legal, and our goal is the safety of the region and the passengers.”

Read more: UAE’s Gargash slams Qatar’s ‘weak’ excuses

The UAE said on Tuesday that it would file a complaint against Qatar at the UN aviation agency.

In a formal complaint to the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the Emirates would accuse Doha of violating the Chicago Convention, which governs the use of airspace, said Saif Al Suwaidi, director general of the UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

Qatari fighter jets intercepted two UAE passenger planes in international airspace that were heading to Bahrain on Monday morning.

Dr Gargash has been one of Qatar’s strongest critics since the crisis broke out in June last year, when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut all ties with Doha over its support of extremism and interference in other countries’ affairs.