Bolivia files UN complaint after president’s jet diverted

Updated 04 July 2013
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Bolivia files UN complaint after president’s jet diverted

LA PAZ: Bolivia lodged a complaint yesterday with the United Nations and planned another to the UN Human Rights Commission against several European countries that closed their airspace to the plane carrying President Evo Morales.
“As a government, we are filing complaints worldwide,” said Vice President and acting head of state Alvaro Garcia.
“We have already made the complaint to the United Nations and in the next few hours, we are making a complaint to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,” Garcia said, over what he called an international rights violation that put the president’s life at risk.
Bolivia said Morales was flying from Moscow back to Bolivia when his plane was forced to land in Vienna on suspicion fugitive US leaker Edward Snowden may be on board.
The flight had originally taken off late Tuesday from Moscow, where 30-year-old Snowden has been holed up for days, just hours after Morales said his country would consider giving him political asylum.
While in flight, Bolivia said the pilot learned Portugal refused to allow the plane to land for refueling, and then France, Italy and Spain banned the plane from entering its airspace.
On the ground in Vienna, police searched the plane and found no sign of the US fugitive, and the European countries reauthorized the use of their airspace.
The diversion has sparked outrage from other Latin American leaders, with Argentine President Cristina Kirchner calling the incident “very humiliating.” In a series of tweets on her official account, the president said, “they are definitely all crazy. The head of state and his plane have total immunity.”
Kirchner said she had spoken to Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, who was equally outraged.
And Organization of American States chief Jose Miguel Insulza demanded an explanation about the incident, which he said endangered the president’s life.
“Nothing justifies such a disrespectful act toward a country’s highest authority.”


Pakistan reopens airspace to civil aviation after India standoff

Updated 16 July 2019
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Pakistan reopens airspace to civil aviation after India standoff

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan opened its airspace to civil aviation on Tuesday, following months of restrictions imposed in the wake of a standoff with neighboring India.
“With immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (Air Traffic Service) routes,” according to a so-called Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) published on the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority’s website.
The move by Pakistan, which lies in the middle of a vital aviation corridor, offers a welcome break for international airlines after the airspace restrictions affected hundreds of commercial and cargo flights each day, adding to flight time for passengers and fuel costs for airlines.
India’s ministry of civil aviation said that after the lifting of the NOTAMS, there were no further restrictions on airspace in either country.
“Flights have started using the closed air routes, bringing a significant relief for airlines,” it said.
Pakistan closed its airspace in February after an attack by a Pakistan-based militant group in Indian-controlled Kashmir led to an armed standoff between the two nuclear-armed powers.
Both countries carried out aerial attacks over the other’s territory and warplanes fought a brief dogfight over the skies of the disputed Kashmir region during which an Indian fighter jet was shot down.
Partial operations at Pakistani airports resumed once the immediate crisis passed but restrictions continued to affect many international carriers using Pakistani airspace.
Pakistan’s announcement came hours after United Airlines Holdings Inc. said it was extending the suspension of its flights from the United States to Delhi and Mumbai in India until Oct. 26, citing continued restrictions of Pakistani airspace.