UN says all must respect safety of civilian flights

NEW YORK: The United Nations has stressed that all countries must respect the safety of civilian air travel, referring to the recent harassment of an Iranian passenger plane by a pair of American warplanes.

“As a matter of, of principle, the safety of civilian air travel should be respected by all,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric during a daily press briefing on Friday, when he was asked about the incident.

On Thursday night, US warplanes operating illegally in Syria conducted aggressive maneuvers dangerously close to an Iranian Mahan Air flight over Syria’s al-Tanf region.

Mahan Air’s Flight 1152 had taken off from Tehran and was en route to the Lebanese capital, Beirut, when the incident happened.

Dujarric stressed that the world body had “no specific information on that incident” yet, adding that what he said about the safety of civilian air travel was “just a principled position.”

“I don’t have any [information], at this point, we don’t have any specific information on this incident,” he further said.

“I checked with my colleagues in Montreal at ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organization]. They have nothing. They have not received anything as of yet,” Dujarric added.

Tehran has condemned the incident and the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran has already said that it would pursue the matter and file a complaint with the ICAO.

In response, the US Central Command claimed that a single F-15 fighter jet had made a “visual inspection” of the Iranian airliner “in accordance with international standards… to ensure the safety of coalition personnel” at the military base in al-Tanf.

Separately on Friday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denounced the incident, saying that “These outlaws must be stopped before disaster.”

The Civil Aviation Organization of Iran urged the ICAO to immediately address the move, which is “a clear violation of the international law and the aviation standards and regulations.”

Forgoing any permission from Damascus, the US has been operating in the Arab country since 2014 under the pretext of fighting the Daesh terrorist group. The US, however, continues its occupation even as Syria defeated the Takfiri terrorists in late 2017.

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