UAE Says Qatari Royal Left Abu Dhabi after Detention Declaration

16 January, 2018, 01:28 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Traffic built up on Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Street this morning. Mona Al Marzooqi  The National

"The General Civil Aviation Authority received a message from a national carrier on Monday morning that an aircraft on a routine flight to Manama was intercepted by Qatari fighter jets in a flagrant and serious threat to the safety of civil aviation and a clear violation of worldwide law", it said in a statement carried by the agency.

WAM quoted Saif al-Suwaidi, the director-general of the GCAA, as saying the intercepts happened at 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al-Thani, emerged as an unlikely mediator in August, weeks after Riyadh and Abu Dhabi cut ties with Doha.

"The incident could also be seen by the naked eye by both the crew and passengers, which constitutes a clear threat to the lives of innocent civilians", he added.

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The United Arab Emirates accused rival Qatar of "intercepting" two Emirati passenger planes en route to Bahrain Monday in the latest incident between the Gulf rivals.

Last week, Qatar announced that it had filed a complaint with the United Nations regarding an alleged violation of its airspace last month by a UAE military aircraft - a claim denied at the time by Abu Dhabi.

FlightRadar24, a popular airplane tracking website, did not show any unusual routes between the UAE and Bahrain. The airline is owned by the government of Dubai, one of seven emirates in the UAE federation.

The video could not be immediately authenticated, while Emirati officials were not immediately available for comment.

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The US, which has tens of thousands of its troops stationed at Qatar's al-Udeid Air Base as part of its campaign against Daesh and the war in Afghanistan, has sought to end the crisis. However, Pickart cautioned that USA forces don't routinely monitor the flights and operations of the Qatari air force.

Qatar's stock exchange dropped some 2.5 percent in trading Monday surrounding the dispute, one of its biggest jolts since the crisis began.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Doha in June 2017, accusing the kingdom of sponsoring terrorism and destabilizing the region. Qatar has denied the charges and upgraded trade with Iran and Turkey since then to mitigate the impact of the sanctions. Its military has halted some regional exercises to put pressure on the GCC, which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, to resolve the crisis. On Friday, Doha said it had lodged a protest at the United Nations about a UAE fighter jet violating its airspace on December 21. Tweets written by a UAE counter-extremism official said Sheikh Abdullah may leave "whenever he wants".

The UAE's state-run WAM news agency later said Sheikh Abdullah had freely left the country "at his request".

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