UAE official says Canadian response is ‘fear tactics’

A UAE official has expressed disappointment over the recent statements of the Canadian government on the landing rights dispute and termed them as “fear tactics” of the Neo Cons.

The Canadian media reports that a military plane carrying its defence minister was refused landing permission in the UAE was nothing but a deliberate leak of misinformation, Gulf News reported quoting an official source.

The source said the agreement granting Canada landing rights had expired in June, but was given an extension for three months.

But a Canadian military source told CTV News that the UAE on Monday turned back the plane carrying its defence minister Peter MacKay, Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn and Chief of Defence Staff General Walt Natynczyk who were returning from Afghanistan.

Lamenting the lack of reciprocity in goodwill showed by the UAE, the source said “Canada today is behaving like the defunct states of the Iron Curtain” when it came to free trade and liberalisation.

According to the source Canada was fully aware that the Memorandum of Understanding on landing rights had expired and the plane could not have been allowed.

The operators of the aircraft carrying the minister and his team were privy to the information before it left Afghanistan. Even an alternative landing facility in another country was also agreed upon, the source said.

The Canadian defence minister has meanwhile told his country’s media that Camp Mirage, Canada’s military base in the UAE could be shut down within a month. The base is used as a stop-over camp for its troops deployed in Afghanistan.

He even said Canadian troops are very adaptable and willing to operate from any such base.

The issue boiled over from commercial landing rights awarded to air carriers of either country.

Seen as an outcome of the dispute over commercial landing rights, Mohammed Abdullah Al Ghafli, UAE’s ambassador in Canada had on Sunday said it would “undoubtedly affect” bilateral relations between the two countries.

Air Canada accuses UAE carriers Emirates and Etihad of expanding their operations  to Canada with an eye on taking Canadians to other places via Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

However, the UAE had complained that its two airlines have only six weekly flights connecting Dubai and Abu Dhabi to Toronto. With around 27,000 Canadians living in the UAE, Al Ghafli had said more flights are needed between the two countries.
 

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