Portugal's president has said that the country sees itself in the "tough" and "strong" positions of the European Union and NATO in reaction to the forced hijacking of a commercial airliner in Belarus.
The President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, has said that Portugal sees itself in the “tough” and “strong” positions of the European Union and NATO in reaction to the forced hijacking of a commercial airliner in Belarus.
“The European Union (…) and NATO have made their positions clear.
According to the president, “they are tough positions, they are strong positions” of the European Union and NATO.
“In the European Union case, they involve sanctions applicable to the state that acted in this case [Belarus] and to air and other traffic between that state and European Union states,” he noted.
European Union leaders met on Monday in Brussels. They reacted to the case of the Ryanair plane hijacked on Sunday by the Belarusian authorities, who forced it to land in Minsk, where journalist Roman Protasevich, an opponent of the Belarusian regime, was arrested.
The plane, belonging to the Irish airline Ryanair, was travelling between the capitals of Greece and Lithuania – two member countries of the European Union and NATO – passing through Belarusian airspace.
European Union leaders decided to “ban Belarusian airlines from entering European airspace” and to “ask airlines based in the European Union to avoid overflying Belarus” and to “adopt new targeted economic sanctions” against the regime of Aleksandr Lukashenko.
The 27 demanded an “urgent investigation” by the International Civil Aviation Organisation into Sunday’s incident and the “immediate release” of the Belarusian journalist Roman Protasevich and his Russian girlfriend Sofia Sapega, who was also arrested.
On Sunday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter that “this is a serious & dangerous incident which requires international investigation. Belarus must ensure safe return of crew & all passengers”.
On Tuesday, ahead of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) meeting to address the issue, Jens Stoltenberg demanded an “urgent international investigation” into what he considered to be a “state hijacking” by the Belarusian authorities of the Ryanair plane travelling between Athens and Vilnius and urged the Lukashenko regime to release Protasevich and Sofia Sapega immediately.
The NATO secretary-general will be in Portugal on Wednesday to attend a meeting of the Council of State as a guest of the President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.