Long-haul carrier Qatar Airways stated on Wednesday that it had launched an international arbitration that was seeking at least $5 billion from four boycotting Arab countries for blocking its flights from their airspace and their markets, years into a simmering political dispute between the nations. This Doha-based carrier had not elaborated its initial international arbitration against Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, all of whom launched a boycott of Qatar in June 2017 that continues today.
There had been no immediate response from the government. In a statement, the airline said that the arbitration involved three separate agreements Qatar had with the boycotting nations: the Organisation of the Islamic Conference Investment Agreement, the Arab Investment Agreement and the bilateral investment treaty between the State of Qatar and Egypt.
“The decision by the blockading states to prevent Qatar Airways from operating in their countries and flying over their airspace is a clear breach of civil aviation conventions and several binding agreements they are signatories to,” Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker said in a statement. “The blockading states must be held accountable for their illegal actions in the aviation sector, which includes a failure to comply with their obligations under bilateral agreements, multilateral agreements and international law,” he added. (Source: The Economic Times)
The four Arab nations had cut ties with Qatar in 2017 due to a political dispute that had fuelled in part over Doha’s support for Islamist groups that they view as terrorists. They had also launched an economic boycott, stopping Qatar Airways flights from using their airspace, closing off the small country’s sole land border with Saudi Arabia and blocking its ships from using their ports.
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