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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Qatar withdraws bid to relocate UN civil aviation agency to Doha

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Amid anger, outrage and scorn from Montreal, Qatar has dropped a proposal to move a United Nations aviation body to Doha.

In tweets posted yesterday, the Canadian foreign minister John Baird announced:

Last month, Qatar offered the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) a chance to set up its headquarters in Doha, starting in 2016. The offer included a promise to bankroll the construction of new premises and cover the relocation of materials and staff, as well as expenses from staff terminations and severance packages.

The agency said it received a letter from Qatar’s charge d’affaires in Ottawa late Thursday saying it was withdrawing its offer to move the agency, but gave no reason for the decision, the CBC reports.

Rallying against offer

The idea of moving the ICAO, which is responsible for setting international civil aviation standards and has been headquartered in Montreal since its inception in 1946, so incensed Canadian officials that, in a rare show of unity, organized a push against Qatar’s offer.

As part of those efforts, “Team Montreal,” composed of Baird, Montreal Mayor Michael Applebaum, and Jean-François Lisée, Quebec’s Minister of International Relations, sought and received international endorsements to keep the UN body where it is from the US and other governments. The officials also criticized Qatar’s wealth, foreign policy and even its weather in an effort to discredit the bid.

Qatar has not publicly commented on the offer or its subsequent withdrawal.

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo courtesy of ICAO

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