Abu Dhabi: The UAE will follow all official international channels, including contacting the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO, about Qatar's interception of two regular UAE aircraft en route to Bahrain, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has stated.
The statement came during a briefing organised by the Ministry at its premises Wednesday for the ambassadors of permanent members of the UN Security Council to the UAE and those of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt.
The briefing, attended by representatives of the UAE Armed Forces and the General Civil Aviation Authority, GCAA, refuted the Qatari allegations that a UAE military aircraft violated Qatar's airspace. Radar footages documenting Qatari violations were presented by UAE Armed Forces and GCAA during the briefing.
Footages were shown, which proved that the UAE military aircraft accused by Doha of violating Qatari airspace was flying over the UAE air space over a training zone acknowledged by the two countries and that its mission did not last more than 30 seconds.
During the meeting, presentations and a short video by the GCAA and the UAE Armed Forces were shown that included radar footage documenting in real time the two separate incidents of interception of two military cargo aircraft that were flying over the Arabian Gulf by Qatari Mirage fighters. Though the two aircraft were well clear of the Qatari Air Space, the footages showed that they were followed by the Qatari fighters.
The footage also indicated that the UAE civilian aircraft intercepted by Qatar's Air Force, which took off from the Al Odaid Air Base, were flying well clear of Qatari air space and that they were regular, scheduled, flights, following well-known routes, with the relevant approvals and internationally recognised permits.
Dr. Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said at the briefing that the actions by the Qatari aircraft against the UAE aircraft and the international air safety showed clearly that the authorities in Qatar are determined to escalate the situation. What happened was not an accident, but rather part of a trend that placed civilian lives in jeopardy, he said.
"We are really talking here about facts and incident escalation. We ask our honoured ambassadors convening here to understand that this is not part of the rhetoric we hear in each incident. A disaster was about to happen. However, the UAE will not escalate and will follow legal channels and we have strong grounding for this."
"The UAE response will be balanced, legal and in conformity with international laws and regulations," he added, affirming that the Qatari actions are irresponsible escalation.
The Qatari actions prove that the Qatari authorities don't respect international laws and conventions and endanger air safety and passengers' lives, said the GCAA.