Fabius Criticizes Air France’s ‘Foolishness’ in Landing Beirut-Bound Flight in Syriaإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has described as “very foolish” a decision by Air France to land a plane in Damascus following tensions near the Beirut airport on Wednesday.
In remarks carried by Le Parisien on its website on Saturday, Fabius said: “Imagine for a second if the Syrian authorities decided to inspect the plane to check the identities of the passengers.”
“That’s very foolish,” he reportedly said.
Air France Flight 562 heading from Paris to Lebanon's capital diverted to Damascus for being low on fuel.
French Ambassador to Lebanon Patris Paoli and several Lebanese personalities, who criticize the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, were on board.
The passengers were also asked to open their wallets to check if they had enough cash to pay for more fuel.
An Air France spokesman explained Friday that the crew inquired about passenger cash only as a "precautionary measure" because of the "very unusual circumstances." Sanctions against Syria complicated payment for extra fuel.
He said Air France found a way to pay for the fill-up without tapping customer pockets, and apologized for the inconvenience.
The Boeing 777, carrying 185 people, took off for an overnight layover in Cyprus then landed safely in Beirut on Thursday.