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Forced landing of civilian airliner in Belarus: “It represents a danger to civilian flights everywhere”

Minsk airport, Belarus

“The first thing we should do is call for the immediate release of Roman Protasevich and the release of all other political prisoners in Belarus,” today said John Howell (United Kingdom, EC/DA) opening a current affairs debate on 'The forced landing by the Belarusian authorities on 23 May of civilian airliner Flight FR4978 and the arrest of Roman Protasevich', in the framework of a PACE Standing Committee meeting.

The action taken by the Belarusian authorities represents “a shocking assault on civil aviation and on international law. It represents a danger to civilian flights everywhere” he added. “We all have a shared interest and a joint stake in ensuring that civil aircraft can fly safely and without harassment, particularly between member countries of NATO and indeed between member countries of the Council of Europe,” Mr Howell said.

“Although Belarus is not a member of the Council of Europe, we need to ensure that all efforts are made to condemn Belarus for this blatant act of State-owned terrorism,” he concluded.