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Lukashenko guarantees safety of flights over Belarus

MINSK, 4 October (BelTA) – When asked about the Ryanair aircraft landing in Minsk, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said that he can personally guarantee the safety of the journalist and that of his company, his country or any other country when flying over Belarus, BelTA has learned.

Once again during the conversation, Matthew Chance ignored journalistic ethics standards and formulated a question in an obvious accusatory manner. “Do you continue to insist that was a genuine bomb threat? Or do you now admit that the whole incident was manufactured by you and your security forces in order to capture the critic that you wanted in jail?” the CNN representative asked.

“I am not going to admit to anything in front of you. I am not under investigation. So please choose your words carefully,” he said.

As regards the flight, the ICAO is investigating all the circumstances of what has happened. “Recently, ICAO, an international organization, finally sent their inspectors here, we have been waiting for two or three months for this. They are yet to publish the results. So what are your grounds for your accusations? Do you have some other facts? We have put our facts on the table, and we have shown what happened,” the Belarusian leader noted.

“I said recently, but if this had been a premeditated action planned by our security services, if this were true, you would be flattering me, because for security services to carry out such an operation without breaking a single international law or even instruction, well that would have cost a lot. I can’t say that our secret services, or even your secret services would be prepared to conduct such an operation. So, this is your fantasy,” the Belarusian leader noted.

He suggested the journalist address ICAO for the objective information. “If you want the truth, just ask ICAO. They conducted an investigation. We know their view, and you don’t.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko also offered Matthew Chance his assistance in organizing a meeting with Roman Protasevich. “We can give you an opportunity to meet him and you can talk to him. Don’t ask me questions about it. He will tell you. He has already said a lot, have you heard? He has said quite a lot.”

The president stressed that Belarus has always ensured the safety of flights over its territory — both before the Ryanair case, and after that. “If you are afraid to fly over our territory, I can personally guarantee your safety and that of your company, your country or any other country when flying over Belarus, just as ever before. But if I, or the law-enforcement authorities, see any threat to the Belarusian state, we will force any plane to land, be it from the United Kingdom or the United States. It will be forced to land in Belarus immediately if we feel threatened, and you will do the same. This is normal, and I am no exception here,” the Belarusian leader noted.

“But if you choose not to fly, that’s fine, okay, fly over the North Pole or the South Pole, that is your right, I cannot force you,” Aleksandr Lukashenko commented on the decision of some air companies not to fly over Belarus.

The president also drew attention to the fact that the decisions of the airlines were clearly not independent, but were taken on someone’s instructions. “The fact that they have stopped flying over us — well, that’s because you’ve ordered them so. This opposition activist had barely been detained when everybody in Europe and America got their orders from Washington and started making carbon-copy statements. They were identical, just look at them. This means that someone — maybe CNN? — wrote these statements, and they began to deliver them and stopped flying here. Fine, God be your judge. We’ll survive,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

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