6 MAY 2013
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A very serious row is developing as the State of Qatar makes efforts to move the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), an agency of the United Nations, from its long-established base in Montreal to Doha. The tiny Gulf State, with an ethnic population of less than a quarter million (about the size of Norwich), has in recent times attracted the FIFA World Cup and various international operations.
The UN agency’s 191 members are scheduled to consider the relocation bid at its next assembly in September, ICAO spokesman Anthony Philbin said, adding that approval would require the support of at least 60% of member states.
In Ottawa, a government spokesman said that Canada would fight to keep the organization.
ICAO sets the technical standards and regulations for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity, as well as environmental protections, and serves as a forum for cooperation in civil aviation.
Montreal has been the ICAO’s home since it was created in 1944, but Qatar is rumoured to be planning to build spectacular new offices and offering to void all taxes for some 1,000 relocating ICAO staff. www.icao.int
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