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Russia says cargo abroad Syrian jet detained in Turkey was absolutely legal

October 12, 2012, 21:10 UTC+3

Russia awaits explanations from Ankara

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NOVO-OGARYOVO, near Moscow, October 12 (Itar-Tass) — Cargo transported by the Syrian Airlines jet, which the Turkish Air Force coerced to landing in Ankara Wednesday, was sent by an absolutely legal consigner to an absolutely legal consignee, and the Russian company that consigned it will demand its return from Turkey, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday after a session of the Russian Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin.

Lavrov indicated that there were absolutely no irregularities in the airway documents issued for the cargo.

He also said Russia awaits explanations from Ankara as to why the Russian diplomats were not admitted aboard the jet to speak to the Russian citizens traveling to Damascus right after the Turkish authorities had forced the jet to land at Ankara’s Esenboga airport.

“In the wake of all sorts of insinuations spread in connection with the Syrian jet’s landing, I’d like to stress we don’t have secrets in this respect,” Lavrov said. “We’ve cleared out the situation and the truth is that, quite naturally, the jet was not carrying any weapons and certainly couldn’t be carrying them.”

“The cargo was supplied by a legal Russian supplier in a legitimate way to a legal customer,” Lavrov said. “It’s electric engineering equipment for a radar station, a dual-purpose equipment that isn’t forbidden by any international conventions.”

“Airway bills for it were filled out in strict compliance with international requirements,” Lavrov said.

“Transportation of these cargoes by civil aviation jets is normal practice and this is confirmed by the fact the Turkish authorities offered the crew either to change the route or to land in Ankara before it entered Turkey’s airspace.

“The captain decided to land because he knew the crew wasn’t doing anything illegal,” Lavrov said.

“The data we have indicates that the consigner will demand a return of the cargo, which is the consigner’s property,” he said.

“Also, we await an official reply from the Turkish side on the reasons for a denial of access to Russian citizens aboard the jet that was requested by Russian diplomats,” Lavrov said.

The Syrian Airlines A320 took off from Vnukovo at 15:26 Moscow Standard Time Wednesday with 37 people aboard and started traversing a route to Damascus, which crosses the Black Sea area and the Turkish territory.

When the jet entered the Turkish airspace, the Air Force dispatched F16 fighters that compelled the crew to land at Esenboga.

In the meantime, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday night the Syrian jet was carrying a consignment of defense equipment and munitions.

The Turkish authorities received appropriate information and inspected the jet and obtained the evidence that jet was carrying a defense cargo, Erdogan claimed. The cargo was confiscated and subjected an expert study.

The Syrian Airlines crew broke international rules, which prohibits any such cargoes, especially the products of defense manufacturing industries and munitions, the Turkish Prime Minister said.




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