Canada’s Trudeau demands independent probe into downed airliner from Iran

Trudeau “impressed upon” Iran’s foreign minister on Friday that an independent investigation into the shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane in January had to be carried out. (File/AFP)
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Updated 14 February 2020

Canada’s Trudeau demands independent probe into downed airliner from Iran

  • Iran has rejected Trudeau’s call to send the “black box” flight recorders from the plane abroad to be decoded
  • Trudeau said he had repeated that demand on Friday

MUNICH: Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he had “impressed upon” Iran’s foreign minister on Friday that a complete and independent investigation into the shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane in January had to be carried out.
“The promise I made to Canadians was to find answers for them and ensure that Iran leads a full investigation with the international community ... and holds to account the people responsible for this and that is my focus,” Trudeau told reporters after meeting Mohammad Javad Zarif earlier on Friday.
Iran has rejected Trudeau’s call to send the “black box” flight recorders from the plane abroad to be decoded. Trudeau said he had repeated that demand on Friday.
Many of the 176 who perished in the disaster were Iranians with dual citizenship, which is not recognized by Iran. Canada had 57 citizens on board.
Zarif said on Feb. 11 that Canada’s complaint about the plane that was mistakenly shot down by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in January had no legal basis.
Canadian lawyers, who previously successfully sued Iran, are seeking class action status in a lawsuit on behalf of relatives of victims aboard the plane, looking for at least C$1.5 billion ($1.1 billion) in compensation.
Trudeau added that he wanted to draw up something positive from the tragedy by working toward the implementation of international frameworks to prevent passenger aircraft flying near conflict zones.


If Lebanon needs financial aid, France will be there: Finance Minister Le Maire

Updated 16 min 53 sec ago

If Lebanon needs financial aid, France will be there: Finance Minister Le Maire

  • Le Maire said France is looking at options to support Lebanon recover from its financial crisis
  • IMF discussed all possible options in recent meetings with Lebanese officials

RIYADH: France is ready to support Lebanon financially — bilaterally or multilaterally — its finance minister said on Sunday, warning against mixing economic recovery in the small Mediterranean state with US-led efforts to counter Iran in the region.
“France always stands ready to help Lebanon. It has always been the case in the past and it will be the case in the future...” Bruno Le Maire told Reuters at the end of a meeting of finance officials from the Group of 20 (G20) major economies.
“If there is any help required from Lebanon, France will be there.”
Le Maire said in Abu Dhabi on Monday that France is looking at options to support Lebanon recover from its financial crisis, including through an International Monetary Fund program if Beirut seeks one.
He also told reporters he discussed the situation in Lebanon with the United Arab Emirates leadership.
Lebanon’s long-brewing economic crisis spiralled last year as the country’s capital inflows slowed and protests erupted against the ruling elite.
As the crisis deepens, hitting ordinary Lebanese hard, there is no sign of foreign aid. Western and Gulf Arab states that helped in the past have made clear that any support hinges on Beirut implementing long-delayed reforms to address root causes such as state corruption and bad governance.
Saudi Arabia’s finance minister said on Sunday the Kingdom was in contact with allies and international bodies to coordinate any support for Lebanon on the basis of economic reforms proposed by Beirut.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Reuters in an interview that Washington was keeping a close eye on the situation. “It’s something we’re monitoring – both the political and economic issues there,” he said. “Our interest is in the people of Lebanon. We want there to be safe environment where they can succeed economically and live as they want to.”
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team has discussed all possible options in recent meetings with Lebanese officials, who are seeking technical advice for tackling the crisis as Beirut mulls a plan for dealing with fast-approaching debt payments.
Le Maire said decisions by Lebanon’s government were urgently needed to improve the situation on the ground. “We want to move in the official fora and we think that the IMF might have a role to play at one stage, but it’s up to the Lebanese government to decide,” he said. “But if there is any need for help, either bilateral or multilateral, we stand ready to help.”
Since protests erupted in October, Lebanon’s currency has slumped by roughly 60% on a parallel market, dollars have become scarce, prices have been hiked and thousands of jobs have been shed.
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government took office last month with the backing of Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite group, and its allies, as Washington presses its policy of “maximum pressure” against Iran with wide-ranging sanctions.
“We know that there are ties between the two issues but we don’t want to mix the issue of economic recovery in Lebanon, which is today the clear emergency, and the question of Iran,” Le Maire added.