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Qatar accuses UAE, Bahrain over new airspace violations

Saudi Arabia and its allies imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Qatar [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 March, 2018

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The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain allegedly violated Qatar's airspace, Doha said on Saturday, after imposing a land, air and sea blockade on the tiny Gulf emirate nine months ago.
Qatar made another complaint to the United Nations alleging new violations of its airspace by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, state media reported on Saturday, just a day after suggesting a UAE navy vessel had "hijacked" a Qatari fishing boat.

The Qatar News Agency said its airspace was violated by a UAE military transport aircraft carrier on January 14 and again on February 25.

A Bahraini military plane also flew into Qatar's airspace on February 26, it said.

The QNA said the UN secretary general and the Security Council were informed about the incidents, which come at a time of high political tension in the Gulf caused by a nearly year-long blockade on the tiny Gulf emirate.

"Qatar called upon the Security Council and the United Nations to take the necessary measures... to maintain international peace and security," it added.

On Friday, Qatar also alleged that a UAE navy vessel had "kidnapped" a Qatari fishing boat at gunpoint and was still holding its eight-strong Indian crew.

The UAE vessel kidnapped all eight crew members onboard, including a captain and seven Indian fisherman, ambassador Alia Ahmed al-Thani told the UN.

"The State of Qatar strongly condemns and deplores such an act of the UAE which is a violation of international law and the relevant international conventions and covenants."

The message also charged the UAE with full responsibility for the safety and security of the Qatari fishing crew, appealing to the international community to pressure Abu Dhabi to abide by and respect international principles and conventions, release crew members and return the fishing boat and any property held.

For the past nine months, Qatar has been isolated by its former neighbouring allies in a rancorous diplomatic dispute.

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt allege Doha supports terrorism - a charge it categorically denies - and imposed sanctions.

After cutting off all ties with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and its allies, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, imposed a land, sea and air blockade of the emirate and issued a list of 13 demands to have it lifted.

The list of demands included shutting down media outlets Al Jazeera and London-based The New Arab, curbing relations with Iran and closing a Turkish military base in the emirate.

Qatar denies the allegations and accuses the bloc of aiming to incite regime change.

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