Arab states say they will allow some Qatari flights, Doha denies it

Reuters

Posted at Jul 31 2017 07:40 AM

Buildings are seen on a coast line in Doha, Qatar Monday. Reuters

DUBAI - Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, which have tried to isolate Qatar, said on Sunday they would allow Qatari planes to use air corridors in emergencies, but Doha denied it, saying they were spreading "false information".

The four countries severed ties with Qatar on June 5, closed borders - in the sea, land and sky - and imposed economic sanctions, accusing it of supporting terrorism, something Doha denies.

With its air space drastically compromised, Qatar asked the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for a special meeting - which is scheduled for Monday - to discuss the issue.

Saudi state news agency SPA on Sunday cited a statement from the Saudi aviation authority (GACA) saying they had already agreed emergency air corridors, which were identified under ICAO supervision, and that they would be open from Aug. 1.

"Nine corridors have been identified including one in international air space over the Mediterranean sea that will be monitored by the Egyptian authorities," SPA said.

However, Qatar's transport and communications ministry and its aviation authority denied the four countries had taken such a decision, the state news agency QNA said.

Qatar called on the countries to not leak "false information" ahead of the ICAO meeting in Montreal on Monday.

ICAO was not immediately available for comment.

ICAO's 36-state governing council could act to settle the row presented by Qatar, but such interventions are rare and time-consuming because the U.N. agency usually negotiates disputes through consensus. (Reporting by Mostafa Hashem; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)