Qatar Airways demands UN action against Saudi-led 'blockade'

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file photo taken on March 21, 2017 shows a Qatar Airways aircraft coming in for a landing at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by AFP)

Qatar Airways has called on the UN's aviation body to declare "illegal" an ongoing boycott by some Arab counties of Persian Gulf region against the carrier. 

In a televised interview on Monday, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker called the move an "illegal blockade".
Baker also urged the United Nations' civil aviation branch to intervene in the dispute. 

 The International Civil Aviation Organization "should heavily get involved, put their weight behind this to declare this an illegal act", CNN Money quoted the Baker as saying.

He went onto say that the move was in violation of the 1944 convention on air transport, charged with overseeing and regulating international aviation.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates broke off relations with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region. They also suspended all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, ejected its diplomats and ordered Qatari citizens to leave their countries. 

The administration of Saudi-backed and resigned Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, Libya, the Maldives, Djibouti, Senegal and the Comoros later joined the camp in ending diplomatic ties. Jordan downgraded its diplomatic ties as well. 

Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani rejected those “trying to impose their will on Qatar or intervene in its internal affairs.” 

Qatar's Foreign Ministry also announced that the decisions to cut diplomatic ties were unjustified and based on false claims and assumptions.

This file photo taken on June 5, 2017 shows a man standing outside the Qatar Airways branch in the Saudi capital Riyadh. (Photo by AFP)

Baker blasts US President Donald Trump 

In an interview with Qatar's pan-Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera, Baker also came down hard on US President Donald Trump, whose country has been a longtime ally of Qatar. 

"We expect our friends to stand up with us in this unfair, illegal blockade conducted by four countries," the CEO stressed. 

"I want the American people to realize that they are trying to intimidate a small country which has the closest relation with the United States," Baker stated, adding, "I think that President Trump's comment about my country is ill-placed, ill-informed, and I can again repeat that I'm very disappointed in him."  

On Sunday, Trump accused Qatar of bankrolling extremists, throwing his weight behind Saudi regime and its allies in the worst crisis to grip the region in years. 

As part of the measures against Qatar, Saudi Arabia also shut the local office of Qatar's Al Jazeera news channel amid escalation of tensions between the two Persian Gulf states.

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