Russia cargo in tarmac stand-off

KUWAIT CITY, April 14: The Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said a Russian cargo plane owned by a private company landed at the Kuwait International Airport Thursday evening carrying what the sources called ‘political documents’ or what is called in diplomatic sources ‘diplomatic bag’, reports Al- Rai daily quoting the DGCA sources.

The same sources said the plane is owned by a private company but officially leased by Russia. The landing permit was obtained by the Russian embassy in Kuwait a few days ago, say the sources.

The sources pointed out the diplomats from the Russian embassy arrived at the airport immediately after the plane landed and insisted driving to the tarmac to receive the ‘diplomatic bag’ to the surprise of security officials at the airport.

The diplomats also insisted that the accompanying convoy of vehicles must also be permitted to drive to the plane where it had taxied on the tarmac throwing a pall of suspicion on the cargo because, according to securitymen was ‘unusually heavy’.

The sources said the cargo, said to be ‘political documents’, consisted of boxes weighing 3,600 kilos and the Russian diplomats insisted the cargo should be released without inspection. The sources noted the vigilance of the security forces led by the Undersecretary for Ports Security at the Interior Ministry Major-General Mansour Al-Awadhi, insisted on inspecting the cargo with the use of metal detectors before the Russians were allowed to take possession.

The Russian diplomatic delegation refused to allow the shipment to pass through the metal detectors or allow any security or civil aviation personnel to board the aircraft. The sources pointed out insistence by the Kuwaiti security services to inspect the cargo forced the Russian delegation to request the pilot to take-off with the cargo. The plane then flew to Baghdad and then to Bahrain before leaving to an unknown destination.

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