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Qatar withdraws ICAO headquarters bid

Qatar had previously offered to build a new HQ for ICAO in Doha.
NEWS, Aviation

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By: Ruchi Shroff

Qatar has dropped a bid to move the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organisation from Montreal to Doha, Arabian Business has reported.

Qatar last month proposed that the organization leave Montreal, where it has been based since it was created as a UN agency since 1947.

"Pleased to confirm Qatar has withdrawn its bid to move ICAO HQ from Montreal," Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said on Twitter.

Losing ICAO would have been a diplomatic embarrassment for Canada and Baird had campaigned hard against the idea.

ICAO spokesman Anthony Philbin said the Qatari embassy in Ottawa had sent a letter saying it was withdrawing the bid. He said the letter gave no reasons.

Qatar had argued that Montreal - in the eastern province of Quebec - was too far from Europe and Asia and suffered cold winters. It also complained Canada made it hard for delegates to get visas and said Canadian taxes were too high.

The lease on ICAO's current Montreal headquarters runs out at the end of 2016 and the organization is in talks with Canada to extend that to 2036.

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