BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:10 P.M.) – On Thursday, December 24, Qatar announced that Bahraini fighter jets had penetrated its airspace, in a new escalation in the Persian Gulf region.
The Qatar News Agency (QNA) published a statement saying that “the State of Qatar informed the UN Security Council and the Secretary-General of the United Nations about air violations by 4 Bahraini fighter planes.”
They explained, “The fighters penetrated Qatari airspace on Wednesday, December 9, 2020.”
Qatar said that Ambassador Sheikha Alya Ahmed bin Saif Al Thani, the permanent representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, sent a letter to Ambassador Jerry Matjela, Permanent Representative of South Africa and President of the Security Council for this month, and to Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, which included an official notification by the government of the State of Qatar, about Bahraini military jets penetrating Qatar’s airspace over its territorial waters.
The letter expressed “Qatar’s strong condemnation of these violations as a breach of its sovereignty, territorial integrity and security, indicating that these breaches are blatantly inconsistent with the obligations of the Kingdom of Bahrain under international law, and that these violations are an escalation that raises tension in the region, which Bahrain contributed to increase through their participation in the unjust blockade, unlawful and unjustified measures against the State of Qatar.”
The message noted that “these violations are not the first by Bahraini military planes of the airspace of the State of Qatar, and stressed that the recurrence of these incidents indicates a disregard for international obligations on the part of the Kingdom of Bahrain that cannot be tolerated.”
Doha called on Bahrain to refrain from these provocative and irresponsible acts, and to abide by the United Nations Charter, international law, international agreements and the provisions of the International Court of Justice.
This statement came a few days after Bahraini-Qatari tension erupted after the Qatari coast guard detained Bahraini fishermen and sailors, which the Bahraini Interior Minister considered “arbitrary and aggressive measures.”
At the time , the Bahraini Minister of Interior , Lieutenant General Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, said: “The arrests were aggressive and degrading, and they are things that we do not consent to citizens, and we will not allow them.” He also indicated that the Qatari Coast Guard police assaulted Bahraini police officers while they were performing their duty.
This comes at a time when talks are underway to end the Gulf crisis, as Kuwait said that talks have resulted in tangible progress between the parties to the crisis during the past days.