No weapons on Syrian plane grounded by Turkey – Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that no weapons were carried by the Syrian passenger plane Turkey diverted on Wednesday over suspicions it was transporting non-civilian cargo.
Lavrov claimed the Airbus A-320 was carrying radar parts, and that transporting such items by civil aircraft does not violate international law.
“We have no secrets,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters. “There were, of course, no weapons on the plane and could not have been any. There was a cargo on the plane that a legal Russian supplier was sending in a legal way to a legal customer.“
Lavrov said the the supplier will demand the cargo be returned which is their property.
“We are awaiting an official reply why our diplomats were not allowed to meet the Russian passengers on board,” stressed the Russian FM.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (RIA Novosti / Valeriy Melnikov)
The announcement came in response to a Thursday statement made by Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan alleging that the Syrian Air jet was transporting Russian-made munitions for the Syrian Defense Ministry.
“It is absolutely clear who sent the cargo and who was going to receive it. This was munitions from the Russian equivalent of our Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation being sent to the Syrian Defense Ministry,” Ergodan said.
Turkey diverted the passenger plane en route from Moscow to Damascus on Wednesday as it entered Turkish airspace, and forced it to land in Ankara and open its cargo to inspection. After around nine hours, some items from the cargo were seized and the plane was allowed to depart.
Syria labeled the incident “air piracy,” and insisted there was nothing illegal on board the plane.
Moscow criticized Turkey for endangering the lives of the flight’s 35 passengers by dispatching F-16s fighter jets to force the plane to land, and demanded to know why Russian diplomats and doctors were not allowed to meet the 17 Russian nationals on board the plane.