17 July 2013, 07:22

Italy, Portugal apologize for Morales' aircraft incident

Эво Моралес аэропорт Вена Австрия

Evo Morales

Evo Morales

Authorities of Italy and Portugal apologized for an incident involving Bolivia’s presidential aircraft, which was grounded in Europe earlier this month, Bolivia’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.

The aircraft carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales had been in the air for over three hours after taking off from Moscow in early July, when France, Spain, Portugal and some other European countries announced the closure of their airspace to it. The plane landed in the Austrian capital Vienna, but was later allowed to fly on to Bolivia.

“It was not only Spain, which sent us a letter with excuses, but Italy and Spain as well,” Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca said, adding that the ministry will consider the letters on Wednesday and will give a reply later.

France and Spain already apologized to Bolivia for closing its airspace to Morales.

The incident provoked a diplomatic scandal: the leaders of Bolivia and other South American nations demanded explanations.

Spain apologises for incident with Morales’ plane – Bolivian media

Spain has apologized to Bolivia for the incident with President Evo Morales’ plane, the Bolivian edition La Razon reports in its micro-blog in Twitter.

The media quote Spanish Ambassador Angel Vasquez. When passing a letter to the Bolivian deputy foreign minister, he said that Spain regrets that fact and apologises for it because it was inadequate and placed President Morales in a difficult position, inconsistent with his official status of the head of a state.

Bolivia demanded apologies from Spain, Italy, France and Portugal for the July 2 incident as he flew home from a meeting of natural gas producers in Moscow.

The Europeans are believed to have acted on suspicions that fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, who had been in diplomatic limbo in the Moscow airport, was on board Morales' plane.

 


Morales' plane incident ugly, unlawful political performance

Valentin Zorin

What occurred with the plane of Bolivian President Evo Morales a few days ago is not a separate and a very unpleasant incident but a very serious political event, which is fraught with negative consequences - among other things, for the world order as such.

Ironically, the violation of the integrity of the plane belonging to the president of a sovereign state and a many-hour detention of President Morales took place in the Austrian capital Vienna, where one of the most important documents of modern international law - the Vienna Convention – providing for diplomatic immunity was signed.

Thus, a dangerous precedent was created. In other words, it was a blow to the system of international laws which prevent the world from turning into ajungle of total lawlessness.

Vienna was not alone in this ugly political performance. Paris, Madrid, Lisbon, and Rome, which closed their countries’ skies for the plane of the Bolivian President, share the responsibility for the recent disgraceful incident which can be qualified as a violation of international law and an indecent act. The organizers who started playing dirty believed that after finding a “contraband cargo” on board, that is, super-spy Edward Snowden, they will be able to justify their actions. However, since Snowden was not on board of Evo Morales’ plane, all those who orchestrated the whole affair understood that they found themselves in an awkward situation.

The haste and readiness of a number of European political leaders to do something to please other people’s interests - we do not say whose - revealed what in other cases is concealed.

There is no doubt that Washington is behind all that, and it was not a heart-warming story. The handwriting is easily recognizable! And again a double standard. Washington’s current “toothache” – the Iran issue – emerged after the seizure of the US embassy in New York. Then-US-president Carter angrily claimed that the violation of both international laws and the Vienna Convention was an accomplished fact. The Pentagon raged at that time and remains angered today over the fact that the US embassy in Libya was seized and the US ambassador killed as a result. This indignation is well justified. But why has nobody in Washington expressed his(her) anger over what can be called with good reason an attack on Evo Morales?

These are the political morals of today’s Washington. However, a law is a law, and any violation of the law is very dangerous.

Voice of Russia, RIA

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