Russian passenger plane grounded due to pvt lawsuit: SL PM
Dove: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe informed Russian authorities on Sunday that the grounding of an Aeroflot airliner with 200 people on board at Colombo airport was due to a private lawsuit and not a problem between the two country.
Wickremesinghe transmitted this information via the Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while the Minister of Justice ordered the matter to be expedited.
In a statement, the ministry said “this matter is being consulted through normal diplomatic channels”, adding that it was still awaiting the court’s final decision.
Amid diplomatic tensions, the attorney general’s department is working to call the case on Monday before Wednesday’s scheduled hearing date to expedite the case, court sources told IANS.
Meanwhile, Cabinet Minister Dinesh Gunawardena urged authorities to resolve the issue quickly before it causes major damage to bilateral relations.
However, Russia was quick to protest the grounding of the Aeroflot flight on June 2 and suspended all commercial flights to Colombo.
The Russian Foreign Ministry had also summoned the Sri Lankan envoy to Moscow to express its firm objection.
“We have urged the Sri Lankan side to address this issue as soon as possible to avoid its negative impact on the traditionally friendly bilateral relations,” Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry Ambassador Janitha A. Liyanage said, according to reports. Russian media.
The Russian-operated Aeroflot Airbus SU 289 landed at Colombo airport on June 2 with 191 passengers and 13 crew on board. The plane was prevented from leaving for Moscow following a court order obtained by Irish aircraft leasing company, Celestial Aviation Trading.
The court order to ground the plane was obtained following a commercial dispute with the Irish company that leased the plane to Aeroflot.
Passengers and crew were taken to hotels.
Aeroflot officials informed Sri Lanka that the grounding came at a time when the island nation gave a state guarantee to Russia that its plane could fly to the country.
With the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, amid harsh sanctions from the West, Aeroflot had suspended all international flights in March.
However, Sri Lanka, which has diplomatic and economic ties with Russia, resumed operations in Colombo from April.
According to tourism figures, Russia tops international arrivals with 16% of all foreign holidaymakers to the island nation.
Cash-strapped Sri Lanka is also waiting for fuel from Russia with a 90,000 tonne shipment to restart the country’s only oil refinery which shut down on March 25 because there was no fuel to make it work.