ICAO's Council President calls for an urgent meeting of the 36 Diplomatic representatives
ICAO's Council President has called an urgent meeting of the 36 diplomatic representatives to the ICAO Council on the 27th of May.
The meeting comes after Ryanair flight FR4978 operating from Athens to Vilnius was forced diverted to Minsk, Belarus.
Although not confirmed, there are claims regarding the Boeing 737-800 being intercepted by MIG-29 fighter jet aircraft to escort the airliner into Minsk.
Following the landing, one of the passengers on board, Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend were detained by the Belarus authorities.
Roman Protasevich is a well-known journalist who is an opposition activist against the government of Belarus. The action by the Belarus government has been strongly condemned.
"It is utterly unacceptable to force Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius to land in Minsk. ALL passengers must be able to continue their travel to Vilnius immediately and their safety ensured. Any violation of international air transport rules must bear consequences. The outrageous and illegal behavior of the regime in Belarus will have consequences. Those responsible for the Ryanair hijacking must be sanctioned. Journalist Roman Protasevich must be released immediately." - Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
Following the incident, the UK has suspended Belarus’s operating permit and has instructed its registered airline to avoid the airspace of Belarus.
The action by the Belarus government will be in contravention of the ICAO Chicago Convention.