Iran to send black boxes from downed Ukrainian airliner to France, enter reparation negotiations

Iran shot down the Ukraine International Airlines flight on Jan. 8 with a ground-to-air missile, killing 176 people, in what Tehran later acknowledged as a "disastrous mistake." (IRNA/AFP)
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Updated 22 June 2020

Iran to send black boxes from downed Ukrainian airliner to France, enter reparation negotiations

PARIS: Iran will send the black boxes from a downed Ukrainian airliner to France for analysis, the countries said on Monday.
Iran shot down the Ukraine International Airlines flight on Jan. 8 with a ground-to-air missile, killing 176 people, in what Tehran later acknowledged as a "disastrous mistake" by forces on high alert during a confrontation with the United States.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran will send the black box of the Ukrainian airplane to France in the coming few days in order to read its information," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, according to the official IRNA news agency.
France's BEA air accident investigation agency is known as one of the world's leading agencies for reading flight recorders.
Zarif made the comments in a phone call with Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne. Canada had 57 citizens on board.
Champagne said in a statement that Zarif had committed to sending the flight recorders to France without further delay.
He also said Iran had "agreed to enter into negotiations for reparations" but gave no details. Champagne has consistently pressed Iran to compensate the families of victims.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in February that Kiev was not satisfied with the size of compensation Iran had offered.
The fate of the cockpit voice and data "black box" recorders was the subject of an international standoff after the plane was shot down, with Ukraine demanding access.
Iran says the coronavirus crisis has contributed to delays in a probe by its Air Accident Investigation Board.
Tehran has been sending mixed messages about where the black boxes may be read. Last week, Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami said they would be sent to Ukraine.


Lebanon information minister quits in first government resignation over blast

Updated 9 min 57 sec ago

Lebanon information minister quits in first government resignation over blast

  • Manal Abdel-Samad apologizes to the Lebanese public for failing them
  • Explosion killed more than 150 people and destroyed swathes of the capital

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s information minister Manal Abdel Samad on Sunday quit in the first government resignation since a deadly port blast killed more than 150 people and destroyed swathes of the capital.

“After the enormous Beirut catastrophe, I announce my resignation from government,” she said in a statement carried by local media, apologizing to the Lebanese public for failing them.

The head of Lebanon’s Maronite church meanwhile called on the entire government to step down over the August 4 explosion, a blast widely seen as shocking proof of the rot at the core of the state apparatus.

Lebanese protesters enraged by the blast vowed to rally again after a night of street clashes in which they stormed several ministries.

Maronite patriarch Beshara Rai joined the chorus of people pressing Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s cabinet to step down over a blast he said could be “described as a crime against humanity.”

“It is not enough for a lawmaker to resign here or a minister to resign there,” Rai said in a Sunday sermon.

“It is necessary, out of sensitivity to the feelings of the Lebanese and the immense responsibility required, for the entire government to resign, because it is incapable of moving the country forward.”

Rai echoed calls by Diab for early parliamentary polls — a long-standing demand of a protest movement that began in October, demanding the removal of a political class deemed inept and corrupt.

He also joined world leaders, international organizations and the angry Lebanese public by pressing for an international probe into an explosion authorities say was triggered by a fire in a port warehouse, where a huge shipment of hazardous ammonium nitrate had languished for years.

President Michel Aoun on Friday rejected calls for an international investigation, which he said would “dilute the truth.”

At least six lawmakers have quit since the explosion.

Under increased pressure from the street and foreign partners exasperated by the leadership’s inability to enact reforms, Diab’s government is fraying at the edges.