ICAO accepts Arab quartet’s working paper in extraordinary session

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Saudi Gazette report
MONTREAL — The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council, which only considered technical issues in an extraordinary session on Monday, following a complaint by Qatar, also accepted the working paper of the four Arab states that cut ties with Qatar which said it would allow Qatari planes to use air corridors in emergencies.
Qatar’s complaint is in accordance with Article 54 (N) of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago 1944), which gives member states the right to consider any matter relating to the Convention. The United Nations aviation agency was reviewing Qatar’s request to intervene after its Gulf neighbors closed their airspace to Qatar flights.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar, accusing it of fomenting regional unrest, supporting terrorism and getting too close to Iran, all of which Doha denies.
Prior to the ICAO meeting, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) on Sunday had announced the allocation of emergency air corridors by the four Arab countries after approval by civil aviation authorities in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain for use by Qatari companies as applicable in cases of closure of regional airspaces.
In Monday’s extraordinary meeting, Saudi Arabia was represented by a delegation headed by Abdul Hakim Bin Mohammed Al Tamimi, President of GACA. The Qatari Minister of Transport, head of the delegation, represented the opposing camp.
The chairman of the Council opened the meeting by emphasizing avoidance of political matters and focusing only on the technical issues that were the responsibility of ICAO.
While Qatar issued a statement attacking the four countries and described the boycott decisions as arbitrary measures taken by the four countries to block the state of Qatar, the Arab quartet presented facts to counter the attack.
Al Tamimi objected to the Qatari statement, which did not comply with the reasons for convening the extraordinary session, and noted his rejection of the Qatari statement, which, he said, was full of inaccuracies.
The Arab quartet then presented a joint working paper, which included actions taken in cooperation with the ICAO Regional Office in Cairo to promote safety over international waters in the Middle East region. It also included opening of nine additional air routes to relieve the pressure on current routes over international waters.
The paper received the approval of the members of the Council, who praised the spirit of cooperation among the countries of the region.
The Council adopted resolutions in which it asked the secretariat to continue to implement the contingency plan, encouraged states to cooperate to ensure the implementation of technical solutions and urged all Member States of ICAO to abide by the spirit of the Chicago Convention and to cooperate to ensure the safety, security, efficiency and sustainability of international civil aviation.

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