We, the foreign ministers of Germany, Canada, the United States, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom (G7) and the High Representative of the European Union strongly condemn the unprecedented action taken by the Belarusian authorities who arrested the independent journalist Roman Protasivi. His partner, Sophia Sobega, after forcing them to board Flight FR4978 as they were. Passengers on the plane land in Minsk on May 23.
This action endangered the passengers and crew of this flight. This was a serious violation of the rules governing civil aviation. All of our countries and citizens depend on the responsible behavior of each country in fulfilling its obligations under the Chicago Convention, so that every civil aircraft can operate safely and securely. We call on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to respond quickly to this challenge with its rules and standards.
This measure also constitutes a serious violation of the freedom of the press. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Roman Protasivi and all other journalists and political prisoners held in Belarus.
We will intensify our efforts, including adopting new sanctions, where appropriate, to hold the Belarusian authorities accountable.
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