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Bahrain: Qatar's claim of 4 Bahraini fighters violating its airspace is baseless

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Qatar's claim that four fighters from the Royal Bahraini Air Force have violated their airspace on Wednesday, is "irresponsible and baseless," Bahrain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday.

"On Wednesday, December 9, 2020, a military drill involving two F-16 aircraft from the Royal Bahraini Air Force and two from the US side took place in the designated military exercise area in the airspace of the sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as part of a joint military exercise between the two friendly countries," the ministry said.

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"The four planes headed together towards the skies of the Kingdom of Bahrain, crossing the airspace of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia eastward to land at Isa Air Base... this is the usual exit route from the military drill area towards the airspace of the Kingdom of Bahrain and that on their way back, the aircraft have not used the Qatari airspace," it added.

Qatar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday it informed the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) about "violations by four Bahraini fighter jets that penetrated Qatari airspace on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020."

The UAE, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, had severed diplomatic, trade and transport ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism – a charge Doha denies.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said a resolution of the Gulf diplomatic crisis was in sight, with all governments involved "on board" and a final agreement expected soon.

Last month, two Bahraini boats breached Qatari territorial waters, Doha's interior ministry said in a statement.

Bahrain insisted however that the two vessels, part of its coastguard fleet, had been wrongfully intercepted, adding that "the incident occurred in the territorial waters of the Kingdom of Bahrain".

On Sunday, Manama accused Doha of confiscating 47 Bahraini fishing boats, but in a cabinet meeting on Monday "the importance of direct bilateral negotiations with Qatar to reach a lasting agreement" on fishing activities, according to the BNA.

Referring to the wider Gulf spat, Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said during an official visit to Moscow on Wednesday "no party from this crisis will emerge victorious".

"We will all emerge victorious only if a solution is found and trust is rebuilt," he said during a press conference alongside his Russian counterpart.

- With AFP

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