United Arab Emirates files formal complaint with UN over Qatar’s alleged flight ‘interceptions’

An Emirati passenger plane (File photo)
The United Arab Emirates says it has lodged a formal complaint with the UN over Qatar’s purported “interception” of two Bahrain-bound Emirati passenger planes earlier this week.
According to a report by the UAE’s official news agency, WAM, on Thursday, the complaints were filed over “Qatar's threat to the lives of civilians through its interception of two UAE aircraft on a routine flight to Bahrain via internationally accredited airlines, and with all necessary approvals and permits.”
On Monday, the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority alleged that earlier in the day Qatari fighter jets had intercepted two Emirati passenger planes en route to Bahrain. Qatar has strongly denied the report.
On Friday, Qatar lodged a complaint with the UN about an alleged violation of its airspace on December 21 by an Emirati military plane. Moreover, Doha, also alleged on Saturday that a second Emirati warplane had violated Qatari airspace as it was traveling from the UAE to Bahrain on January 3, “without prior authorization.”
Tensions have escalated in the Persian Gulf region after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the UAE severed their diplomatic relations with Qatar on June 5 last year, accusing Doha of sponsoring “terrorism” and destabilizing the region. 
The Saudi-led bloc has also imposed sanctions against Doha, including restrictions on Qatari aircraft using their airspace. Amid the diplomatic crisis, Abu Dhabi has taken an especially tough line toward Doha. To further pressure Qatar, Saudi Arabia has totally closed its land border with its tiny neighbor, through which much of Qatar's food supply crossed. Doha, however, rejects the claims, saying the boycotters are attacking its sovereignty.
Later in June, the four Arab countries urged Qatar to abide by a 13-point list of demands if it wanted the crippling blockade lifted. The demands included shutting down the Doha-based Al Jazeera broadcaster, scaling back cooperation with Iran, closing the Turkish military base in Qatar, and paying an unspecified sum in reparations. Qatar, however, firmly refused to comply, calling the wide-ranging demands “unrealistic, unreasonable and unacceptable.” In return, the four feuding countries vowed to impose further sanctions.
Several attempts to heal the unprecedented rift have so far turned to be futile, including those by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Kuwaiti Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al-Sabah, whose country has been playing the role of a key mediator since the beginning of the crisis.