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Qatar taking first step toward controlling its own airspace

Qatar says it has been given a preliminary green light by a UN body on a proposal to control its own airspace, months after resolving a rift with its neighbors.

The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has given Qatar permission “in principle” to establish its own Flight Information Region (FIR) in its airspace, the wealthy Gulf emirate announced.

This decision was in response to a request from Doha to withdraw from an agreement signed with Bahrain, another Gulf monarchy, under which it had delegated its air navigation services. A three-year row with its Gulf neighbors, led by Saudi Arabia, had highlighted the shortcomings of the deal, which left Qatar completely reliant on access to airspace controlled by other countries.

The regional bloc led by Saudi Arabia broke ties with Doha in 2017, accusing it of supporting extremist Islamist movements — charges that it denied.

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