UAE battles Canada. Anything to do with a certain smartphone?
The squabble between the UAE and Canada is escalating. Kipp wonders what is driving it…
October 12, 2010 1:21 by shafeer
The Canadian defence minister was forced on a six hour detour this week after a quarrel between the UAE and Canada over landing rights at the North American country’s airports escalated. As we reported yesterday, the UAE abruptly pulled out of ongoing negotiations to secure further landing slots in Canada, expressing bitter disappointment at the lack of progress made. As part of its withdrawal from negotiations, the UAE also gave Canada notice that it could no longer use an airbase outside of Dubai for its Afghanistan operations. The dispute has culminated in a jumbo transport plane carrying Canada’s defense minister being denied the right to land or use UAE airspace. It was en route at the time and diverted to Europe.
The UAE-Canada spat of the past day or two has been almost shockingly candid. In the upper echelons of business and politics (the two sectors this story involves) the key players are usually more restrained – they say little for fear of placing themselves in a non-reversible position. They less you say in public, the less you will be held to.
That doesn’t seem to be the route chosen by the two governments. The UAE ambassador, in a statement posted by WAM, said: “The UAE is disappointed that despite intensive negotiations over the last five years the UAE and Canada have been unable to arrive at an agreement on expanding the number of flights between the two countries. It is unfortunate that this process has been so protracted and frustrating. The UAE entered negotiations in good faith on the understanding that a solution would be reached and that constructive ideas would be brought to the negotiating table. The fact that this has not come about undoubtedly affects the bilateral relationship.
“With 27,000 Canadians living in the UAE, and a significant trade relationship (the UAE is Canada’s largest trade partner in the Middle East and North Africa with bilateral trade figures of over 1.5 billion dollars of which 95 per cent is Canadian exports) as well as 200 Canadian companies active in the UAE today, six flights per week does not service the economic needs of both countries or the potential for growth.”
Kipp is having a week of conspiracy theories, so we may as well allude to another: This UAE-Canada spat comes just days after the Gulf state announced a climb down on the planned ban of BlackBerry in the country. BlackBerry is a brand developed, owned and operated by Research In Motion. Research In Motion are one of Canada’s most successful company of the modern age. So the UAE threatens a ban against a powerful Canadian company, powerful Canadian avoids the ban (in unclear circumstances) and just a few days later discussions over landing rights in Canada that have been ongoing for years come to a screeching halt and a very public, grand-standing spat begins.
Of course, it could just be coincidence.