MINSK, 20 July (BelTA) – Belarus intends to unyieldingly defend national interests in the sphere of civil aviation, Director of the Aviation Department of the Belarusian Transport and Communications Ministry Artyom Sikorsky told BelTA on 20 July.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) reviewed two matters the other day – the Ryanair Flight 4978 incident in Belarus' skies on 23 May 2021 and Belarus' complaint about consequent actions of European countries, which introduced sanctions against Belarusian civil aviation. ICAO's report on the incident was discussed.
Artyom Sikorsky said: “A working paper has been prepared with a complaint about the states that illegally, in violation of the Chicago Convention block access to air space of Europe and other countries for our air carriers and our passengers and close access to airports for us. Foreign air carriers are also advised to steer away from Belarus' air space although even this report does not doubt the safety of air navigation [in Belarus' air space]. The position of the West was demonstrated perfectly well during this discussion. When we presented the working paper, Western countries immediately urged the president of the ICAO Council to make no decisions and ignore it. The USA representative stated directly that these blocking measures are retribution from the West.”
The Belarusian side stressed that such expressions are unacceptable and pointed out that sanctions cannot apply a pinpoint effect, ordinary people will suffer anyway. “What does ICAO do then? Contributes to helping deprive people of their right to the freedom of movement to the tune of Western countries? What are Belarusian air carriers guilty of? For what are European air carriers, which are forbidden to fly via Belarus, punished?” Artyom Sikorsky wondered.
“It was a moment of split. After that our stance was backed by China, Russia, South Africa, India, and many other countries. As a result the ICAO Council president could not easily dismiss this complaint and they will have to look into it. We are going to unyieldingly defend our national interests,” the official remarked.