MINSK, 31 October (BelTA) – Western countries have been waging a major political, economic, and informational war against the Republic of Belarus for many years. Belarus' Permanent Representative in the UN Valentin Rybakov made the statement as the UN Security Council convened to discuss the Ryanair Flight 4978 incident in Belarus' skies on 23 May 2021, BelTA has learned.
Valentin Rybakov said: “Economic terrorism is used in violation of the UN Charter and international law: multiple sanctions have been introduced in order to choke the country and its people by economic means. Provisions of the Budapest Memorandum have been blatantly violated, too. Some delegations in this chamber like to refer to the memorandum often. In accordance with the memorandum Belarus voluntarily relinquished cutting-edge nuclear weapons at that time and got nothing in return in the end.”
“Today's session is another manifestation of this war,” the diplomat stated.
Valentin Rybakov went on saying: “The very establishment of ICAO's fact-finding team on investigating the Ryanair Flight 4978 incident in Belarus' skies on 23 May 2021 runs contrary to the organization's mandate and creates a dangerous precedent in manipulating fundamentals of civil aviation safety. The ICAO report was put together in a rush under the pressure of individual Western countries. It lacks consensus, is biased and nonobjective. The fact was pointed out by participants of the 41st session of the ICAO Assembly not so long ago. Belarus' stance on the report has been disseminated by the secretariat as an official document of the General Assembly in line with item 88 of the agenda ‘Strengthening and promoting the international treaty framework' of 27 July 2022 with the number A/76/909.”
Valentin Rybakov stated that Belarus will not agree with the report's conclusions. The report is based on incomplete information due to the lack of necessary international cooperation. This fact is mentioned in the report, the diplomat noted.
Belarus' representative said that the country has yet to receive answers to the key questions sent to other countries concerned for the sake of carrying out an objective and all-round investigation. No additional information has been requested from the Belarusian side. Valentin Rybakov emphasized: “The report has plenty of errors, inaccuracies, non-aviation and non-objective approaches. It is inadmissible for the report to use information from an anonymous source in the absence of proper technical expert evaluation. In turn, written statements of the true air traffic controller, which the Belarusian side sent to ICAO, have been disregarded.”
Belarus stated that the audio record allegedly made by an air traffic controller and shared by the USA with ICAO's investigation team is a forgery and a lie.
Valentin Rybakov also noted that the fact-finding team had admitted that there was no escort, no interception, no forcing of the Ryanair Flight 4978 to land by any military aircraft in Belarus' air space. “The fact testifies that the pilot in command of the foreign aircraft personally and independently decided to land in the airport of the city of Minsk. By the way, all these undeniable facts were acknowledged by the fact-finding investigation team and failed to prevent Western countries from blaming Belarus for forcing the plane to land,” the diplomat said.
Valentin Rybakov also pointed out: “The words ‘aircraft terrorism' were pronounced here today. Sanctions against the Belarusian flag carrier Belavia and against foreign air carriers, which have been forbidden to use Belarus' air space, were introduced right away. I'd like to remind you that Belavia was nearly the only air carrier to transport and rescue citizens of your countries upon your request during the pandemic and total lockdowns and received numerous thanks from citizens and representatives of your countries.”
Valentin Rybakov mentioned another outrageous fact: “Members of the Belarusian delegation were ready to thoroughly discuss all these matters during the 41st session of the ICAO Assembly but Canada didn't grant them visas and they were forced to attend the session online. It is absolutely obvious that organizers of this show simply did not want to hear inconvenient answers to their possible questions. But even participating in an online format the Belarusian delegation submitted working documents on aviation security for consideration of the session. They were blocked by Western countries. It only confirms the desire of the West to force ICAO to operate in a way to suit Western political interests even to the detriment of flight safety.”
Valentin Rybakov also pointed out: “The name Protasevich has been repeatedly mentioned here. Allegedly the man is the reason why the incident happened.” The diplomat invited participants of the session to watch a video prepared by the man in anticipation of the UN Security Council session. A link to the video can be found in the Twitter account of Belarus' permanent mission in the UN. “You can hear what he has to say to all of you,” the Belarusian diplomat remarked.
Valentin Rybakov also responded to multiple accusations of human rights violations in Belarus: “Some of these accusations are extremely wild. Well, let's talk a bit about human rights.”
First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN Dmitry Polyansky also made a speech during the session. Among other things he noted: “Instead of taking care of relevant matters concerning the maintenance of peace and security the UN Security Council is forced to once again waste time on machinations of our former Western partners with regard to the countries that fail to agree with them. Judging by the number of speakers from the European Union, who turned up today, these machinations interest the European Union much more than the genuine problems UN members encounter.”