UN agency says it is ‘strongly concerned’ by Belarus jet incident

epa09223872 Belarusians living in Ukraine along with their supporters and Ukrainian activists attend a rally in front of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry in Kiev, Ukraine, 23 May 2021. Activists gathered to demand a reaction of Ukrainian power and the International community on the arrest of Roman Protasevich in Belarus. Roman Protasevich, the editor-in-chief of the project 'Belarus of the head brain' and former editor-in-chief of the Nexta opposition Belarussian Telegram channel, was detained in Minsk on 23 May after the Ryanair plane, on which he flew from Athens to Vilnius, was urgently landed in Belarus because of the bomb in the plane report. EPA-EFE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

PARIS, May 23 (Reuters) - The United Nations' aviation agency said on Sunday it was "strongly concerned" by the apparent forced landing of a Ryanair jetliner in Belarus.

By Tim Hepher


The International Civil Aviation Organization said the incident may have contravened the Chicago Convention, a 1944 treaty that set rules for the burgeoning industry anticipated after World War Two and which underpins civil aviation today.

Authorities in Belarus scrambled a fighter jet and flagged what turned out to be a false bomb alert to force a Ryanair plane to land, drawing international criticism.

The jet was flying through Belarus airspace en route from Athens to Lithuania when it was diverted to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, where authorities detained an opposition-minded journalist who had been on board.

“ICAO is strongly concerned by the apparent forced landing of a Ryanair flight and its passengers, which could be in contravention of the Chicago Convention,” the agency said in a Twitter post.

“We look forward to more information being officially confirmed by the countries and operators concerned”.

ICAO has no regulatory power, but sits at the centre of a system of safety and security standards that are managed through the Montreal agency by its 193 member states, including Belarus.

Aviation experts said the incident could fuel debate over the resilience of a decades-old system of cooperation.

Under the landmark 1994 Chicago Convention, each country has complete sovereignty over its own airspace, though the treaty prohibits any use of civil aviation that may endanger safety.

A separate 1971 treaty signed in Montreal, of which Belarus subsequently became a member, outlaws the seizure of aircraft and various offences including knowingly communicating false information in a way that endangers aircraft safety. (Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Alexander Smith and Timothy Heritage)


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  • Kanu Sukha says:

    Why are we surprised/shocked & the mild statement by some ‘bodies’? MBS ordered the gruesome killing of a journalist, Trump called them as the ‘enemy of the people’, Putin (Lukashenko’s pal) poisons or imprisons them, Duterte puts out a contract on them, Israel bombs buildings housing them etc.etc.!

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