Russia slams 'political' aviation watchdog
Russia will continue its work in the International Civil Aviation Organization despite the ICAO’s “unfriendly” and “political” decision not to re-elect it to the governing council, the Russian agency overseeing civil aviation, Rosaviatsiya, has said in a statement.
Earlier on Saturday, amid the ongoing confrontation between Moscow and Western countries over aviation-related sanctions, Russia did not secure enough votes during the UN aviation agency’s 193-nation assembly in Montreal, Canada. All other members of the council’s ‘chief importance’ group, which Russia had been part of, were re-elected, according to the list published by the organization on Twitter.
Rosaviatsiya claimed that in cases when a council member of the group is not elected, a re-vote is required.
“However, the Russian delegation was denied this. We believe that the unfriendly decision of the coalition of countries is political and temporary,” the watchdog said.
Rosaviatsiya emphasized that Russia remains a full member of ICAO and thus will continue its work in the organization “through the Russian representation in ICAO, as well as in the relevant ICAO working groups.”
The agency said that Russia’s removal from the ICAO council would not affect international flights from Russia to “friendly” countries. It also offered reassurances that the Russian aviation industry would continue to adhere to the “high standards” recommended by the ICAO.
Earlier this week, Adina Valean, the European Union’s transport commissioner, accused Moscow of violating the ICAO’s fundamental principles. “We cannot accept that a member, breaching so clearly the Chicago Convention, sits in the very council that should act as its guardian,” Valean said, referring to the 1944 treaty, that established the organization's framework.
Canada’s transport minister, Omar Alghabra, had said earlier that his country would also be opposing Russia’s nomination to the 36-seat council.
Western countries have been accusing Russia of illegally confiscating hundreds of foreign jets. Moscow denies these allegations, citing a law that allows Russian airlines to re-register foreign-owned airplanes and continue using them domestically. The law was signed by President Vladimir Putin in response to the Western ban on supplying aircraft and aircraft parts to Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. Moscow also closed its airspace to airlines from 36 countries, including all EU countries.