Greece blames Turkey for holding foreign minister’s plane

Greece says the plane carrying Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, left, had been deliberately held up. (AP)
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Updated 16 October 2020

Greece blames Turkey for holding foreign minister’s plane

ATHENS: Greece accused Turkey on Thursday of deliberately holding up a government aircraft carrying its foreign minister home from Iraq, leaving it circling for 20 minutes before granting it permission to cross Turkish airspace.
Turkey denied the accusation, saying the aircraft had taken off from Iraq without a flight plan but had been allowed to pass once one was procured.
Tensions between the two NATO allies, locked in a dispute over maritime boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean, have been simmering amid claims and counter-claims to marine areas thought to be rich in natural gas.
“It is one more provocation in Turkey’s series of provocations,” Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters. “I hope the incident is not repeated in the future.”
He said Greece’s Foreign Ministry had complained to the Turkish authorities.
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy dismissed the suggestion that the plane carrying Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias had been deliberately held up as a provocation to Athens.
“The plane in question took off from Iraq without presenting a flight plan. When the plane entered our air space, a flight plan was urgently requested from Iraqi authorities, and the flight was safely carried out after the plan was received,” he said.
He said Turkey had granted permission to a Greek request for the minister’s plane to pass over its air space en route to Iraq on Oct. 14.
After that plane malfunctioned in Iraq, Greece sent a second aircraft which was also granted permission to fly through Turkish air space, “with the same flight permission number, without any delay,” Aksoy said.
Separately on Thursday, France and Germany accused Turkey of continuing to provoke the EU with its actions in the eastern Mediterranean, and gave it a week to clarify its positions.

UAE records 1,251 new coronavirus cases

Updated 4 min 46 sec ago

UAE records 1,251 new coronavirus cases

  • The total number of cases in the UAE since the pandemic began had reached 167,753, with the death toll now at 570

DUBAI: The UAE on Sunday recorded one death and 1,251 new coronavirus cases.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention said that the total number of cases since the pandemic began had reached 167,753, with the death toll now at 570.

The ministry added that 736 people had recovered over the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 154,185.

On Saturday, Abu Dhabi Ports said that it would store and distribute 70 million coronavirus vaccines to continue to play “a vital role in the global fight against COVID-19, using its enhanced logistics capabilities.”

The vaccines will be stored at Khalifa Industrial Zone (KIZAD), a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Ports, and is part of the Hope Consortium initiative launched by Abu Dhabi last month that “aims to serve as a logistics platform to coordinate and facilitate the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine around the world.”

Jamal Mohammed Alkaabi, undersecretary of Abu Dhabi’a Department of Health, said that the emirates “continues to play a vital role within the global effort to discover a vaccine for COVID-19. And as part of those efforts, we are providing logistical capabilities that will position the UAE as a distinguished local, regional, and global distribution hub.”

Meanwhile, Robert Sutton, head of Logistics Cluster, Abu Dhabi Ports, said: “Abu Dhabi Ports’ ability in expanding capacity to receive and store clinical, pharmaceutical and life science materials at moderate and extreme temperature ranges is a testament to our commitment to offer world-class logistics solutions.

“Our Department of Health-licensed facility fully integrates the movement of cargo with state-of-the-art temperature, humidity, and refrigeration-controlled technology. Abu Dhabi Ports, through our highly advanced infrastructure and multimodal connectivity, is ready and able to meet the challenges of distributing sensitive pharmaceuticals quickly across the supply chain,” he said.

Elsewhere, Kuwait recorded 231 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the total to 142,426. The death toll reached 878 after three new fatalities were registered.

Oman’s Health Ministry said that its total number of cases had reached 123,484 and the death toll was 1,418.

In Bahrain, one death was reported, bringing the toll to 338, while 150 new infected cases were confirmed.