WorldUN agency completes report on Ryanair flight diverted to...

UN agency completes report on Ryanair flight diverted to Belarus

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The investigative report on the diversion of a commercial flight of the airline Ryanair to Belarus, last spring, was completed and the next steps will be announced at the end of the month, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) reported on Monday.

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“The report was made available today to all 193 ICAO member states, including the 36 states elected to the council,” the UN agency’s communications department announced in a statement.

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On May 23, 2021, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko caused international outrage by sending a fighter jet to intercept Ryanair flight FR4978, which was flying between Greece and Lithuania.

The plane was forced to land in Minsk and the Belarusian authorities arrested a dissident journalist, Roman Protasevich, and his partner, Sofia Sapega, who were on board.

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Several countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union, had announced sanctions against Belarus.

A meeting of council representatives scheduled for January 31 will be an opportunity to “formally review any further action to be taken by ICAO following the report’s findings,” the Montreal-based organization specified in its press release.

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On the same day, the council will also assess “a request from Belarus” on what the country considers “illegal restrictions and sanctions” imposed in particular by the European Union.

The report on this diversion, delayed in recent months, was prepared by a team of ICAO investigators made up of experts in air safety and navigation, aircraft operations and international air law professionals.

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