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UPD Athens: Airplane with Syrian FM & Geneva team takes off after diplomacy rally

It was short after 5 p.m. in the afternoon Tuesday when the aircraft carrying the Syrian Foreign Minister and a team of advisers and negotiators took off from Athens airport Eleftherios Venizelos. The green light for refueling the Syrian aircraft followed a diplomatic rally between Athens, Damaskus and Brussels, where Greek foreign minister Evangelos Venizelos is currently.

The Tupolve 134 landed in Athens airport at 12:22 on Tuesday.

According to some Greek media report, it was the Greek authorities that denied the refueling due to the embargo against the Assad regime, other reports claim, it were two US companies that denied the refueling for the same reason.

Earlier KTG reported:

A thriller of special kind is currently taking place in Athens airport Eleftherios Venizelos with Greek authorities allegedly refusing to give refueling permission due to embargo against Assad regime. According to Greek media, the Foreign Minister of Syria, the minister responsible for European Affairs and an accompanying team are in the Tupolev 134aircraft.

The team of 26 people are claimed to be on the way to Geneva, Switzerland where international negotiations to end the civil war in Syria will start tomorrow.

The plane has landed Tuesday noon in Athens airport, the pilots had not submitted flight plan neither had they informed in advance the Greek airport authorities about the landing.

The airport authorities are reportedly awaiting for refueling permission from the Greek Foreign Ministry and the Civic Aviation Authority.

According to an information obtained from the internet, “SYRIA TV reported that Greece refuses to refuel the airplane of Syrian Geneva team.”

UPDATE  3:37 p.m. GR time

According to latest information, Greek Foreign Ministry gave green light to Greece’s Civic Aviation Authority to deal with the issue, that is to refuel the aircraft and allow take-off.

Reuters reported 15 minutes ago:

“Greece’s Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed that the plane had been temporarily detained but had now been cleared for take-off, although Greek air traffic controllers said the plane was still in Athens.”

Quoting state TV of Syria, Reuters notes that “the lengthy delay might force the cancellation of a planned meeting between Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem – who was on the plane – and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, state TV said.




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