Qatar's rivals turn to top UN court in airspace feud

AFP , Wednesday 27 Jun 2018

Saudi King Salman with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed al-Nahyan in 2016.(Photo:AFP)

Qatar's regional rivals including Saudi Arabia and the UAE said Wednesday they would file a complaint at the highest UN court against the isolated Gulf state over alleged airspace violations.

Both sides in a regional diplomatic crisis that saw a Saudi-led bloc break off all ties with Qatar last year are turning to the International Court of Justice in the Hague to hear their grievances.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt decided to submit the airspace case to the ICJ on the grounds that the International Civil Aviation Organisation was not competent to consider the dispute, Saudi and UAE state media said.

The UAE has filed two complaints with the ICAO over what Qatar's rivals say are airspace violations that threaten civil aviation.

The UAE accuses Qatar of sending fighter jets to intercept passenger flights and a civilian helicopter in Bahraini airspace.

Doha has denied approaching any UAE-operated flights.

The Saudi-led bloc cut off relations with Qatar on June 5, 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism and Iran, which Doha denies.

Qatar has also filed a case at the ICJ accusing the UAE of human rights violations.

Judges at the court in The Hague -- which rules in disputes between countries -- will start a three-day hearing at Doha's request on Wednesday.

The row has left the small peninsula nation regionally isolated with its only land border closed, its state-owned airline barred from using its neighbours' airspace and Qatari residents expelled from the boycotting states.

Short link: