International Civil Aviation Organization rejects Qatar complaint, will ‘remain neutral’ on dispute

The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) (Reuters)
Updated 11 August 2017
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International Civil Aviation Organization rejects Qatar complaint, will ‘remain neutral’ on dispute

DUBAI: The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has responded to a complaint filed by Qatar against the Quartet, saying it will remain neutral, but welcomed news of emergency routes.
In a statement the council “acknowledged the existence of political issues that ought to be tackled by the concerned countries at the appropriate international platform, rather than in the ICAO,” the Saudi state news agency SPA reported.

The response comes following a complaint lodged by Qatar over the current restrictions to regular air travel to and from the peninsula nation.
In an apparent nod to the United Nations and its role in handling such disputes, the ICAO council president stated that New York was only an hour away from Montreal, referring to the UN headquarters.
Responding to the council’s announcement Abdulhakeem bin Mohammed Al-Tamimi, chief of the Saudi Civil Aviation Authority, said: “The decisions confirm the neutrality of the organization and its sticking to its constitutional role of preserving the safety of civil aviation all over the world.”
And Al-Tamimi praised the ICAO and its council for remaining detached from political disputes.

However, the council did praise the decision to prepare emergency alternatives in the Gulf region and requested the ICAO Secretariat General continue coordinating with impacted countries and their neighbors to guarantee the implementation of the emergency corridors was speeded up.

Director-General of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Saif Mohammed Al-Suwaidi, said: “These resolutions confirm the neutrality of the ICAO and its commitment to its mandate, which it was founded for, to ensure the safety of civil aviation across the world.’”
Al-Suwaidi praised the ICAO and its council’s reluctance to become involved in political disputes.
Referring to the emergency routes Al-Suwaidi added: “These routes are temporary, which are granted in exceptional cases and during the increase of air traffic in specific area… The UAE’s sovereign airspace is still closed to Qatar-registered planes.”
Saudi airspace is also currently closed to Qatar-registered planes.


Donors pledge over $110 million to help Palestinian refugees

Updated 32 min 31 sec ago
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Donors pledge over $110 million to help Palestinian refugees

  • The $1.2 billion budget for UNRWA provides education, health care, food and other services to Palestinian refugees
  • The Trump administration cut all funding for UNRWA this year

UNITED NATIONS: Donors have pledged over $110 million to help some 5 million Palestinian refugees, an amount the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees called encouraging.
But Pierre Kraehenbuehl in an announcement Tuesday after a donor’s conference at UN headquarters said, however: “The situation does remain precarious.”
The $1.2 billion budget for the UN Relief and Works Agency provides education, health care, food and other services to refugees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as well as Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
The Trump administration cut all funding for UNRWA this year.
Kraehenbuehl said the agency covered its expenses through May 30 but is now operating in deficit.
He expressed hope the $110 million will bridge UNRWA’s funding in coming months but said another pledging conference will be needed.