The Foreign Secretary has welcomed the decision by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), supported by an overwhelming majority of international delegations, to launch an international fact-finding investigation into the events relating to the forced landing of Ryanair flight FR4978 in Belarus on Sunday 23 May.
The announcement follows the Belarusian authorities’ diversion of a passenger flight from Greece to Lithuania. The Ryanair jet carrying over 100 passengers was diverted to Minsk on the basis of a false bomb scare in order to arrest an opposition journalist – in a further move by the Belarusian authorities in its ongoing war against independent journalism and opposition voices.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said:
The UK welcomes the ICAO investigation into the Lukashenko regime’s forced landing of Ryanair flight FR4978. We join our international partners in wanting to know the full circumstances that led up to this grave violation of international law and the attack on the principles that underpin civil aviation.
ICAO is a UN specialized agency, established in 1944 to manage the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention).
Its main purpose is to put in place Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) which are used by the organisation to set an acceptable expected baseline in order to ensure safe, secure and environmentally sustainable global civil aviation.