Air safety row with Cyprus ends - for now (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Zohar Blumenkrantz 12/06/02)
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A dispute over Israeli security practices at the Larnaca airport
threatened air links between Israel and Cyprus yesterday, but it was
temporarily resolved by yesterday evening.
The resolution, following high-level talks between the countries,
including the involvement of Foreign Minster Benjamin Netanyahu,
involves a three-week postponement of new security rules applicable
to Israeli security officers at the airport, until new rules
reflecting Israeli security needs can be devised.
Yesterday morning, Israel announced suspension of flights to Cyprus
by Israeli aircraft - and a ban on Cypriot planes landing in Israel -
charging that Cyprus had imposed limits on Israeli security at
But a few hours later, the Civil Aviation Authority reversed the
decision after officials from both sides decided current security
arrangements would remain in place for about three weeks while
negotiators resolved the dispute, according to the Transportation
As a result of the dispute, Israel´s three airlines, El Al, Arkia and
Isra-Air, were to be forbidden from flying to Cyprus as of Sunday due
to the "severe security restrictions" imposed by Cypriot authorities
on Wednesday, the earlier ministry statement said, and Cyprus
Airways, which has a code-sharing arrangement with El Al, would not
be permitted to land in Israel.
Cyprus´ decision is "grave and unacceptable in light of the warnings
and threats on Israeli points around the world," the ministry said,
before the decision was overturned.
About 60,000 passengers travel the Larnaca-Tel Aviv route every year.
Meanwhile, Transportation Ministry officials are on their way to
Addis Ababa to resolve a security dispute with Ethiopian Airlines.
Earlier this week Israel diverted one of the company´s planes
traveling from Addis Ababa to Tel Aviv over concerns that security in
Ethiopia was insufficient.
(© Copyright 2002 Ha´aretz 12/06/02)
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