Reuters

A military official in the United Arab Emirates said on Tuesday its forces had instructions not to escalate an ongoing diplomatic crisis with Qatar.

UAE military aircraft would also fly alternative routes over Saudi Arabia to avoid the possibility of interception by Qatari warplanes, air force Brig.-Gen. Helal al-Qubaisi said at a news conference in Abu Dhabi.

The UAE said on Monday that Qatari warplanes had twice intercepted its civilian aircraft during routine flights to Bahrain, but Qatar called the claim “completely untrue”.

Qatar said the UAE allegation followed incidents on Dec. 21 and Jan. 3 in which it accused UAE military aircraft of violating its airspace. Abu Dhabi denies the charges.

The UAE is one of four Arab countries, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, that imposed travel, diplomatic and trade sanctions on Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

Doha denies the charges.

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