Russia's foreign ministry regrets U.S. senators' plane delay

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MOSCOW, August 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign ministry said Monday it regretted that the airline flight of two U.S. senators had been delayed in Perm, the Urals region, today.

"We regret the misunderstanding and inconveniences for the senators," the ministry said.

"The flight of the U.S. Air Force airplane carrying the senators and their assistants was delayed at the Perm airport by border officials who had to look into relevant formalities and the flight's status," the ministry said.

Russian and American special flights have a number of reciprocal diplomatic privileges, including simpler border and customs procedures, the ministry said. "When Moscow confirmed the flight's diplomatic status, the senators left Russia."

Richard G. Lugar, U.S. senator from Indiana, and Barack Obama, U.S. senator from Illinois, visited Perm to inspect the progress of the U.S-funded Nunn-Lugar weapons decommissioning program. "The Russian-American program has been implemented successfully for over 10 years already, and we appreciate the personal contribution made by Senator Lugar, one of its founders," the foreign ministry said.

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