(In penultimate paragraph, corrects to show that Pakistan made
the complaint and not India)
MONTREAL, June 15 Gulf states and Egyptian
transport ministers are meeting on Thursday at the U.N. aviation
agency's headquarters in Montreal, in what would be their first
direct talks since a diplomatic row erupted last week that led
to the economic isolation of Qatar.
Qatar had asked the International Civil Aviation
Organization (ICAO) to intervene after its Gulf neighbors closed
their airspace to Qatar flights.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt last week severed
diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing it of support for
Islamist militants and Iran. The UAE has also decided to
blacklist Qatari individuals and entities.
In response, ICAO - a U.N. agency that regulates
international air travel under the Chicago Convention - said it
would host talks of ministers and senior officials from Qatar,
the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt at its Montreal
headquarters on Thursday to seek a "consensus-based solution"
that addressed "current regional concerns."
Most of the officials attending the meeting are expected to
be transport ministers, an ICAO representative said on
ICAO has rarely intervened in disputes between states,
especially involving overflights, which are governed by a
separate international agreement from the Chicago pact that
created the UN aviation agency.
In 1971, India closed its airspace to Pakistan in a row over
the hijacking of a plane by Kashmir separatists. Pakistan
complained to ICAO that its rights had been infringed under both
post-World War II aviation agreements – the Chicago Convention
and the separate International Air Transit Services Agreement,
which guarantees transit rights.
The ICAO Council, however, merely encouraged the two sides
to settle their differences, according to a history of the
agency by Canadian academic David Mackenzie.
(Reporting by Allison Lampert in Monteral; Additional reporting
by Tim Hepher in Paris; Writing by Denny Thomas; Editing by