Canada will oppose Russia’s re-election to UN civil aviation body, minister says

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MONTREAL — Canada will oppose Russia’s re-election to the UN aviation agency, Canada’s Transport Minister Omar Alghabra told Reuters on Tuesday on the sidelines of the United Nations assembly. international civil aviation (ICAO).

“It is important that Russia be held accountable for its actions, and we will not support Russia’s appointment to the council,” Alghabra said.

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A vote to elect countries to ICAO’s 36-member governing body is due to take place on Saturday.

Asked if he expected other countries to follow suit, Alghabra said: « We are having discussions with other countries on our collective approach because we need a response. international community. » Violations of international rules cannot be « ignored », he added.

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Russia has closed its airspace to airlines from 36 countries, including all 27 members of the European Union, in response to Ukraine-linked sanctions targeting its aviation sector following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

“We are talking with our allies and like-minded countries about what we can do to respond collectively,” Alghabra said.

The Russian Federation at ICAO was not immediately available for comment.

The 193-nation ICAO assembly, held every three years, is the first since the COVID-19 pandemic put pressure on policymakers to speed up reforms.

A representative of the Russian Federation asked the assembly to condemn the public statements and actions of a group of countries, « including the introduction of bans on the use of sovereign airspace ».

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European Union Transport Commissioner Adina Valean has suggested that Russia should not continue to sit on the 36-member ICAO council. The West claims Russia has illegally confiscated hundreds of foreign aircraft, a charge Moscow denies.

« We cannot allow a member, so clearly violating the Chicago Convention, to sit on the very board that should act as a gatekeeper, » Valean said in reference to the 1944 treaty that created ICAO and established rules for international aviation.

“It’s not about politics. These are the foundations of this organization,” she told the gathering. (Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal Writing by Denny Thomas Editing by Leslie Adler)



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