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Russia to resume air service with Egypt after international security standards introduced

November 10, 2015, 13:58 UTC+3
Security checks already underway in Egyptian airports, including with Russia’s participation, will finish in a week
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© Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS

SOCHI, November 10. /TASS/. Air service between Russia and Egypt will be resumed after Cairo imposes international-level security measures, Russian Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov said on Tuesday.

"It is a difficult issue. It [air service] will be resumed when security requirements at Egyptian airports conform to international standards and it is confirmed by the corresponding services," he told journalists.

He said he was ready to report to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the situation over suspension of flights to Egypt.

The minister refused to comment on media reports that the process of resuming air service with Egypt might take years. "I’d rather refrain from comments," he said, adding that he would provide no forecasts of when air service with Egypt might be resumed.

So far, in his words, there are no definite evidence proofing that the Russian plane crash in northern Sinai was caused by a terrorist attack. "Neither the [Russian] governmental commission, nor the [Egyptian] investigation commission have any reliable proof that it was an act of terror," he said.

According to the minister, security checks already underway in Egyptian airports, including with Russia’s participation, will finish in a week.

"[Security checks] are already underway since Monday. Our special groups from Rosaviatsiya [aviation agency], Rostransnadzor [transport watchdog] and other agencies are already working in all Egyptian airports," Sokolov said.

He refused to clarify whether specialists have already found any faults in security measures at airports. The checks will be completed in a week, Sokolov noted.

So far, there is no definite evidence proving that the Russian plane crash in northern Sinai was caused by a terrorist attack, the minister said.

"Neither the [Russian] governmental commission, nor the [Egyptian] investigation commission have any reliable proof that it was an act of terror," he told journalists.

He said it was beyond his ministry’s competences to advance any theories of the crash. The ministry, he underscored, was tasked to transport Russian vacationers and their luggage from Egypt.

On November 6 Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed with the recommendations of the National Anti-Terrorist Committee and ordered to suspend Egypt flights. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained that the measure will be in force not until the end of the investigation of Kogalymavia Flight 9268 crash over Sinai on October 31 but rather until appropriate security measures are ensured. Putin also ordered to assist Russian citizens in returning from Egypt.

Russian Kogalymavia’s A321 plane en route from Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg crashed on October 31 around 30 minutes after takeoff in North Sinai, 100 kilometers to the south of Al-Arish. Flight 9268 carried 217 passengers and seven crewmembers. Egyptian authorities said no one survived in the crash. Most passengers were Russian nationals.

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