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The UN aviation agency ICAO condemns Brussels attacks


The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has expressed its strong condemnation of yesterday’s terrorist bombings in Brussels, stressing its deep condolences for the victims of the tragic assaults and its solidarity with the people and Government of Belgium.

The Council President and Secretary General of the UN agency also expressed their continued concern over the persistent willingness of terrorist groups to target international civil aviation facilities and operations.

These attacks were an affront to peace and liberty,” stressed ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu. “The civil aviation community remains determined to keep our global network and its billions of passengers safe from terrorist threats, and we are deeply saddened today in the aftermath of these cowardly assaults against innocent civilians and travellers. Our hearts and sympathies today are with the victims and their families and the people of Belgium.

Our agency deeply regrets that civil aviation operations and facilities continue to be considered as valid targets by terrorist groups worldwide,” commented ICAO Secretary General, Dr. Fang Liu. “While the devices at Zaventem airport were detonated in public, landside airport areas which are not protected by civil aviation screening standards and related procedures, threats to international passengers at any stage in their journey are of tremendous concern to ICAO and the entire air transport community.

ICAO maintains security provisions for both airside and landside terminal areas. These are presently undergoing review through the agency’s Aviation Security Panel and Committee on Unlawful Interference, and will be subject to final review and adoption by ICAO’s 36-State Governing Council.

Any new or amended guidance will be fully supportive of ICAO’s strategic objective to maintain a practical balance between the needs of effective and sustainable security measures and an unobtrusive travel experience for passengers.

Effective, sustainable security in public spaces poses complex challenges,” President Aliu remarked. “Aviation confronts these with close cooperation and monitoring, data sharing and risk analysis, and perhaps most importantly by sustaining a culture of constant vigilance in the face of evolving threats. Our network brings peoples and cultures together today on over 100,000 daily flights, and terrorist acts of this nature must not be permitted to threaten aviation’s ability to connect the world and its peoples.

ICAO has established an effective regulatory framework which provides reasonable balance between security and passenger facilitation,” added Dr. Liu. “As the current review phase now moves to the Committee on Unlawful Interference, which meets on this topic next month, ICAO and its Council will assure that all relevant aspects of this framework are thoroughly analysed and adjusted if needed.

MONTRÉAL, 23 March 2016