Second UAE fighter jet violates Qatari airspace: Doha




Qatar says a second warplane belonging to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has violated its airspace, a day after Doha lodged a formal complaint with the UN about what it called a violation of its airspace last month by another such fighter jet.

According to a statement released by Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday, the military aircraft was traveling from the UAE to Bahrain on January 3, when it purportedly flew over Qatar’s special economic zone “without prior authorization.”

In the statement of complaint Doha added that the “repetition of this terrible incident” was evidence of the UAE violating international law.

On Friday, Sheikha Alia Ahmed bin Saif Al Thani, Qatar’s ambassador to the UN, submitted a message to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council’s president regarding the alleged violation, which Doha said happened on December 21 at 9:45 a.m. local time and lasted one minute.

Shortly after the submission of the messages, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash flatly denied the accusation relating to the first incident and said Abu Dhabi would send an official response.

Qatar tells UN that a UAE fighter jet violated its airspace last month, warning that Doha reserve the right to defend its borders and skies based on international law.
Tensions have escalated in the Persian Gulf region after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the UAE severed their diplomatic relations with Qatar on June 5 last year, accusing it of sponsoring “terrorism” and destabilizing the region.

The Saudi-led bloc has also imposed sanctions against the country, including restrictions on Qatari aircraft using their airspace. Amid the diplomatic crisis, Abu Dhabi has taken an especially tough line toward Doha. To further pressure Qatar, Saudi Arabia has totally closed its land border with its tiny neighbor, through which much of Qatar’s food supply crossed. Doha, however, rejects the claims, saying the boycotters are attacking its sovereignty.

Later in June, the four Arab countries urged Qatar to abide by a 13-point list of demands if it wanted the crippling blockade lifted. The demands included shutting down the Doha-based Al Jazeera broadcaster, scaling back cooperation with Iran, closing the Turkish military base in Qatar, and paying an unspecified sum in reparations. Qatar, however, firmly refused to comply, calling the wide-ranging demands “unrealistic, unreasonable and unacceptable.” In return, the four feuding countries vowed to impose further sanctions.

A number of attempts to mend the unprecedented rift have so far turned to be futile, including those by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Kuwaiti Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al-Sabah, whose country has been playing the role of a key mediator since the beginning of the crisis.