Qatar denies intercepting Emirati civilian aircraft

Doha, Authorities in Qatar have denied that Qatari fighter jets intercepted two Emirati aircraft after the United Arab Emirates said that its civilian jets were accompanied by warplanes.

Qatar’s foreign ministry released a statement on Monday saying the claim was false.

UAE’s state news agency WAM quoted the country’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) as saying on Monday that “it had received a complaint from one of the UAE’s national carriers that one of its aircraft on a flight to Manama on a normal route had been intercepted by Qatari fighters”.

Another Emirati aircraft was allegedly intercepted while it was landing in Manama, according to WAM.

GCAA described the acts as a flagrant and dangerous threat to the safety of civil aviation, without offering details on the flight paths or the name of the carriers involved.

The UAE condemned the alleged incidents and said it would take all necessary legal measures to ensure the security of civilian air traffic.

On Saturday, Qatar complained to the United Nations Security Council that UAE fighter jets violated its airspace on at least two occasions in recent weeks.

Qatar’s UN envoy said Doha would take all necessary measures required to defend its borders, airspace and national security in order to preserve its legitimate sovereign right in accordance with international laws.

Along with the denial of UAE’s claims on Monday, Qatari officials said a detailed statement would follow soon.

US Air Force Central Command, which is based at the sprawling al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar, also did not immediately have any report about an alleged incident involving a commercial aircraft in the region, said Lt. Col. Damien Pickart, an Air Force spokesman.

However, Pickart cautioned that US forces do not routinely monitor the flights and operations of the Qatari air force.

The developments come amid a blockade against Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain, which has been in place since June 5, 2017.

The group severed all diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting “terrorism”.

Qatar has strongly denied the accusations and is seeking international arbitration in an attempt to end the blockade.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera News

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