An aircraft carrying the Syrian government delegation to peace talks in Switzerland is set to continue its journey after it was delayed at Athens airport because the authorities refused to refuel the plane due to the international embargo against the Assad regime.
Syrian state television on Tuesday said the plane was “prevented from refuelling” after it had obtained permission to pass through the relevant airspace and land at Athens for refuelling.
“The matter has been settled. There was a slight delay on procedural grounds,” a foreign ministry spokesman, Konstantinos Koutras, told Reuters, without providing a reason why the plane was delayed.
He added that the plane was ready to continue its journey.
Damuscus’ official Sana news agency said the plane landed at noon and was delayed for over four hours.
“This delay has resulted in the head of the delegation, deputy prime minister, foreign and expatriates minister Walid al-Moallem, being unable to reach the plane’s destination of Montreux, Switzerland, in time for his scheduled meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon prior to the beginning of the international conference on Syria ‘Geneva 2’,” Sana said.