Canadians caught in U.A.E. visa spat

Two Canadian businessmen who got caught up in a diplomatic tussle between Ottawa and the United Arab Emirates are back home.

Pair return home, plan to talk to government officials

Two Canadian businessmen are back home after getting caught up in a diplomatic tussle between Ottawa and the United Arab Emirates.

Darius Mosun says he and his partner missed an important business meeting in Abu Dhabi because they were stuck at the airport. ((CBC))

Darius Mosun and his business partner, Jonathan Mark, spent nearly 20 hours stranded at the Abu Dhabi airport because of confusion over new visa rules imposed on Canadian travellers.

Although their visa allowed them to enter the U.A.E. last week, they were blocked from entering that country a second time on Friday after making a side trip to Saudi Arabia.

They were told their visas were only valid for a single entry, even though that rule wasn't written on the document itself.

The pair said the confusion at the airport caused them to miss an important meeting with a client.

Mosun also said he noticed that Canadians were singled out at the airport for additional screening, something he hadn't experienced on previous trips.

After arriving in Toronto, Mosun, 42, said such "major inconveniences" make it tough for Canadian companies to compete in foreign markets.

He said he'll be contacting officials in Ottawa to urge them to protect Canadians travelling for business who may be affected by the diplomatic spat.

The new rules were imposed at the start of the month after Canada refused last fall to grant the U.A.E.'s two major airlines increased landing rights.

The U.A.E. has also evicted Canada from Camp Mirage, which had been an important base for the military mission in Afghanistan.

Mosun said he hopes Ottawa will work to rebuild relations with the Arab country.