Jan. 16 (UPI) — Qatar has denied allegations its fighter jets intercepted a pair of Emirati commercial planes en route to Bahrain.
The United Arab Emirates made the allegations Monday, but UAE officials didn’t clarify what they meant by the term “intercepted.” Qatari officials said the allegations are “completely untrue.”
In recent weeks, Qatar has twice accused UAE planes of breaching their airspace. UAE filed the second complaint with the United Nations last week.
Alya al-Thani, Qatar’s ambassador to the United Nations, said the airspace invasions constituted a “flagrant violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the State of Qatar, as well as a flagrant violation of the provisions of international law, conventions, charters and international norms.”
The accusations and denials are part of an ongoing standoff between the two nations. Last year, UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain cut diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar, accusing the small Middle Eastern country of funding terrorism.
Over the weekend, a member of Qatar’s ruling family said he was being held against his will in the UAE.
“I am a guest of Sheikh Mohammed but it is not hosting now, it is now an imprisonment,” Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali al-Thani, brother of Qatar’s former ruler, said in the video. “They told me not to leave and I am afraid something will happen to me and they blame Qatar.”
UAE denied the allegations, saying Sheikh Abdullah had complete freedom to move and go as he pleased.
“Sheikh Abdullah al-Thani expressed his desire to leave the UAE and was provided with all help needed to facilitate his departure from the UAE,” officials with UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a released statement.
Kuwaiti and U.S. officials have worked behind the scenes to negotiate a settlement between Qatar and those boycotting, but the latest incidents suggest the geopolitical impasse is worsening.