Sat, October 13, 2012
World > Middle East

Syrian plane grounded by Turkey carries no banned cargo: Russia

2012-10-12 18:05:46 GMT2012-10-13 02:05:46(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

MOSCOW, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian plane intercepted by Turkish fighter jets on Wednesday carried no banned cargo, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

"We verified the situation: there were no arms on that plane, of course, and they could not be there," Lavrov told reporters here after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The cargo, which was totally legal, was sent by a Russian contractor to its client, Lavrov said.

"This cargo is an electro-technical equipment for an early- warning radar, a double-purpose equipment prohibited by no international conventions," the Interfax news agency quoted the top Russian diplomat as saying, adding that all accompanying documents for the cargo were in due order.

According to Lavrov, it was a "normal practice" to transport such cargo by civil airlines, and the Russian supplier would request the Turkish side to return the consignment.

Lavrov also said that Moscow is still expecting explanations from Ankara about why the Turkish authorities have denied Russian diplomats access to the Russian citizens on board the A-320 aircraft forced to land in Ankara.

The Damascus-bound plane, carrying a total of 35 passengers including 17 Russians, was grounded by Turkey over intelligence of the existence of "non-civilian cargo" on board, earlier reports said.

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