Montreal to remain headquarters of UN aviation agency

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the only UN agency headquartered in Canada, will not fly off for the desert kingdom of Qatar.

Qatar informed the ICAO last week that it’s withdrawing its offer to become the organization’s new permanent seat.

Qatar’s move came after Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird spoke to Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, Canadian Press reported.

“He said that Qatar values their good relationship with Canada and wanted it to continue,” said Baird, who along with Quebec government officials lobbied dozens of foreign officials to oppose the move.

The Qatari bid had been seen by government critics as being politically motivated and a reflection of Canada’s pro-Israel policy in the Middle East.

Others saw the Qatari bid as a bargaining chip in an ongoing dispute over landing rights in Canada.

The ICAO has been in Montreal since it was founded in 1947.

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