Salvatore Sciacchitano, the president of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council, called for an urgent meeting in connection with the incident involving the Ryanair airplane in Belarus, ICAO said on Monday.
"ICAO's Council President has called an urgent meeting of the 36 diplomatic representatives to the ICAO Council, on 27 May, on the incident involving Ryanair Flight FR4978 in Belarus airspace on 23 May 2021. We will post further updates as available," the organization said via Twitter.
The ICAO Council is currently not in session and the next set of meetings have been scheduled for June 7-25.
The announcement comes following an incident on Sunday, when an airplane flying from Athens to Vilnius had to make an emergency landing in Minsk over a bomb threat, which later turned out to be false. Roman Protasevich, founder of a Telegram channel that Minsk designated as extremist, was aboard the airplane and was detained during the stopover. Protasevich may face up to 15 years in prison for organizing mass unrest, among other charges.
According to ICAO, its secretariat is empowered only to support countries' diplomacy in air transport, and any international investigations and airspace blockades that may arise as a result of this incident would need to be proposed and agreed to diplomatically by the countries concerned.
Questions on a possible probe must await further diplomatic advice from the countries who collaborate through ICAO and decide on such matters. Currently, 36 representatives and ambassadors serve their countries as members of the elected ICAO Council.
Earlier on Monday, the UK government called on the ICAO to discuss the Belarusian authorities’ arrest of a journalist who was onboard the Ryanair airplane that had to make an emergency landing in Minsk on Sunday over a bomb threat.
The United States is calling for a full investigation into the Ryanair airplane emergency landing in Minsk and is working closely with the European Union regarding the incident, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
The Belarusian Transport Ministry told Sputnik on Monday that Minsk plans in the near future to notify the ICAO and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) of its readiness to investigate the emergency landing of a Ryanair plane in Minsk.
Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei said on Monday that Belarus is ready to invite international experts over the incident with the emergency landing of a Ryanair plane in Minsk.