Dominic Raab says UK airlines told to suspend flights through Belarusian airspace – live

We are urgently seeking full details of precisely what took place in relation to Flight FR4978 but the scenario as reported is a shocking assault on civil aviation and an assault on international law.

It represents a danger to civilian flights everywhere and it is an egregious and extraordinary departure from the international law and the international practice that guides international civil aviation under the Chicago Convention.

We’re calling for the council of ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) to urgently convene to address thoroughly and rigorously this incident.

The regime in Minsk must provide a full explanation for what appears to be as I said a serious violation of international law.

[Belarusian leader Alexander] Lukashenko’s regime must be held to account for such reckless and dangerous behaviour.

For our part we’ve summoned the Belarusian ambassador, and the minister for the European neighbourhood is conveying our condemnation of these acts as we speak.

We are working with our international partners to explore every potential diplomatic option at ICAO, at the UN Security Council, at the OSCE and at the G7.

Beyond the diplomatic track we’re actively considering and co-ordinating with our allies on further sanctions on those responsible for this outlandish conduct.

To ensure the safety of air passengers, I’ve also worked with the Transport Secretary to issue a notice to all UK airlines to cease … flights of Belarusian airspace and to suspend the operating permit on the Belarusian airline Belavia with immediate effect.

And as a precautionary measure, the UK Civil Aviation Authority will be instructed not to issue any further ad hoc permits to any other carriers flying between the UK and Belarus.

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I know the whole House will join me in condemning unequivocally this reprehensible action under the Lukashenko regime.

The UK will stand firm in protecting freedom of the media, upholding international law and maintaining the safety of international civil aviation.


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