German foreign minister calls for ‘clear consequences’ against Minsk

Germany’s foreign minister has condemned the forced landing of a Ryanair passenger jet in Belarus and the subsequent arrest of a prominent opposition activist who was on board.

“The fact that a flight between two EU states was forced to make a stopover under the pretext of a bomb threat is a serious interference in civil air traffic in Europe,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement, calling for “clear consequences” to be taken against the government in Minsk.

“We are very concerned about reports that journalist Roman Protasevich was arrested this way,” Maas said of the activist.

He urged the issue to be taken up at a previously scheduled meeting of EU leaders on Monday in Brussels.

The Ryanair plane was en route from Athens to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius on Sunday when it was ordered to land in Minsk by air traffic controllers who said they had identified a potential security threat on board.

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