PSKOV, August 29 (RIA Novosti) - The flight delay of two American senators in Perm, the Urals, will not affect Russian-American relations, a senior upper house parliamentarian said Monday. Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the international affairs committee of the Federation Council, said, "Hopefully, this unfortunate technical incident will not affect Russian-American relations." The plane carrying American senators Richard G. Lugar and Barack Obama was delayed at Perm airport Sunday. The senators had been in Perm to inspect the progress of the U.S-funded Nunn-Lugar weapons decommissioning program.
The delay has nothing to do with Lugar's views, which at one time was that Russia be excluded from the G8, he said.
Margelov said he had already contacted the Russian Foreign Ministry who told him the delay was due to purely technical reasons. Russia's security service (FSB) earlier attributed the delay to the local airport not servicing flights under the Open-Skies Agreement, an international aviation liberalization agreement.
The government official said he had also been detained and questioned by British police a year ago. They had told him that everyone was equal before the law.
"I would not describe it as a pleasant situation, but it did take place," he said, adding that he did not consider the present incident to be part of a conflict. "We know Lugar well, and he is also our colleague."