Cairo: The UAE and Saudi Arabia on Monday accused Qatar at the UN high court of failing to honour its obligations amid a two-year diplomatic spat locking a Saudi-led bloc and Doha.
The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, which in 2017 severed diplomatic and transportation links with Qatar over its support for terrorism, say the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) does not have the jurisdiction to handle an aviation dispute with Doha.
The four countries have banned flights from Qatar that accuse them of discrimination against its citizens.
UAE Ambassador to the Netherlands Hissa Al Otaiba defended the quartet’s measures against Qatar in an appeal against an ICAO decision at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. “These measures, including the closure of the airspace to the Qatari planes and those registered in Qatar were aimed at protecting national security of these countries and in response to Doha’s failure to honour its legal obligations,” Ambassador Al Otaiba told the court, according to a statement from the UAE Foreign Ministry on Monday.
The quartet’s arguments at the court confirmed that the ongoing dispute with Qatar is political and unrelated to civil aviation. “It is pertaining to Qatar’s support for terrorism and militancy. Consequently, the ICAO council has no power to handle it, given that it is a technical organisation specialised in aviation,” added the statement.
The court will look into the arguments and legal notes that all parties concerted will present until December 6.
The UAE is confident that the court will take the “nature” of the dispute, according to Ambassador Al Otaiba.
In the same vein, the Saudi representative in the hearing told the court that Qatar has not observed its obligations resulting from a 2014 pact signed in Riyadh to resolve an earlier crisis between Doha and Gulf countries. The representative said that Qatar-backed groups are destabilising Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia.
The quartet has set several conditions to mend ties with Qatar, including the emirate’s severance of links with militant and terror groups. Doha has refused the conditions, saying they violate its sovereignty.