News ID: 272259
Published: 1239 GMT July 31, 2020

Ukraine welcomes 'constructive' first talks with Iran on plane incident

Ukraine welcomes 'constructive' first talks with Iran on plane incident

Ukraine said on Friday that its first round of talks with Iran about issues related to a Ukrainian passenger plane mistakenly shot down by Iran in January, had been constructive.

"The talks ended late last night [Thursday night]. The talks lasted 11 hours. In general, they were constructive," Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a video briefing after meeting with an Iranian delegation, Reuters reported.

Kuleba said the sides had agreed the terms of next round of talks. Later on Friday, the Ukrainian prosecutor general's office said the next round was set for October.

On January 8, Iran mistakenly shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 shortly after take-off from Tehran’s main airport. All 176 aboard were killed. The majority of the victims were Iranian or Canadian, and many were dual nationals.

Iran later called it a “disastrous mistake” that happened at a time when air defense forces were on high alert in case the US retaliated against Iranian missile strikes hours earlier on American military bases stationed in Iraq.

Those strikes were carried out in response to the assassination of Iranian Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, in a US drone strike near Baghdad airport on Jan. 3.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Kuleba said that if the negotiations with Iran are unsuccessful, then Ukraine will go to international courts. “But this is plan B".

"And plan A is negotiations with Iran and the solution of all these issues and the payment of compensation. We saw Iran was disposed to a serious and substantive conversation," he said.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in February that Ukraine was not satisfied with the size of compensation Iran had offered to families of Ukrainians killed in the incident and Kuleba said on Thursday that Ukraine would make every effort to maximize compensations.

An international team completed the data extraction from the recovered black boxes of the plane in the France's Bureau for Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) in Paris on July 23.

An Iranian delegation leading the international team announced on July 24 that the BEA's measures were in full compliance with standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), according to IRNA.

The data included details from the cockpit voice recorder, which records conversations between the pilots and noises on the plane, as well as the flight data recorder, which tracks the flight parameters.

The data was handed over to the Iranian investigation bureau.


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