Qatar denies UAE claims of intercepting Emirati civilian aircraft

Indo Asian News Service

Doha, Jan 16 (IANS/WAM) Qatar on Monday denied that its fighter jets had intercepted a passenger plane from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

"The state of Qatar announces that the claims of Qatari fighter planes intercepting a UAE civil aircraft (are) completely false," Qatari Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Lulwa Al Khater said on her Twitter Monday.

Qatari military jets on Monday intercepted a UAE passenger plane which was on the way to land at Al Bahrain International Airport in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, the official Emirati news agency WAM reported.

The UAE's civil aviation authority has informed its Qatari counterpart that a second Emirati commercial airliner was intercepted by Qatari fighter jets while it was on a "regular scheduled and well-known journey."

The UAE authority added that it regards this incident "as a serious and renewed breach of international conventions and the safety of civil aircraft traffic."

Earlier in the day, the UAE reported another Emirates passenger plane was intercepted by Qatari military jets, calling the move as a "flagrant and serious threat to the safety of civil aviation."

The incidents came after Qatar filed two complaints on Friday and Sunday to the United Nations about the violation of its airspace in December and January by a UAE fighter jet.

On Sunday evening, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Ali Al-Thani, one of the Qatari royal family members, accused the UAE of holding him against his will. But the UAE denied the allegation.

A standoff has continued in the Gulf since early June, when the Saudi Arabia-led Arab quartet, which also includes the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, severed diplomatic, trade and transport links with Qatar.

The quartet has accused Qatar of destabilizing the region by supporting terrorism and interfering in their domestic affairs. Qatar has denied all the charges.

No breakthrough has been achieved in the international efforts to resolve the crisis, despite the mediation by Kuwait, the US, Turkey and European countries.

--IANS/WAM

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