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Bucharest, July 31 /Agerpres/ - Romania's Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu said on Monday that the situation resulting from Romania's banning an airplane flying Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin from flying over Romania's airspace was "deliberate" and designed to create a political rift between Romania and Russia, mentioning that Rogozin had tweeted in advance his itinerary.

"From my point of view, all this matter, Romania's overflight, was clearly preplanned to create a political rift between Romania and Russia, and I say this because a few days before leaving for Transnistria, Rogozin had tweeted the information that it would fly over the Romanian soil and posted a map for us to see where he flies in, where he flies out and so forth. From my point of view, that was a deliberate matter by Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin to create difficulties in the relations between Romania and Russia," Melescanu told Antena 3 private broadcaster.

Melescanu said that the Russian politician's gesture also had secondary significance. "He wanted to demonstrate that the sanctions adopted by the European Union against certain dignitaries who are blacklisted and not allowed to travel or transit through EU member states do not work," he said.

Melescanu added that, despite contrary statements from the Russian side, the life of the people abroad the civil aircraft banned from flying over Romania on Friday was not jeopardised. "At no point was the life of the passengers in difficulty (...) The fact that they landed in Minsk proves very clearly that the aircraft had all the necessary fuel to take any kind of route in our area," added Melescanu.

He also detailed some of the procedures that led to the overfly ban. "Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin tweeted to the whole world that he will fly over Romania and also posted a map with the itinerary of the respective plane. Naturally and obviously, when such public communication is made, it is practically the point from which to start the mechanism that takes into account the sanctions of the European Union. This communication was also received by our Consular Directorate, which informed the Romanian Aeronautical Authority and stated that, in accordance with the sanctions established by the European Union, it does not grant this aircraft the right to fly over Romania, even if it was a civil one," said Melescanu.

He showed that the fact that Rogozin chose to fly in a civil aircraft "proves that this entire operation was deliberate."

On Friday, Russia protested against Romania's decision to ban an airplane flying from Moscow to Chisinau, carrying aboard Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, form entering its airspace, deeming it as a "deliberate provocation which will seriously damages bilateral relations," according to the Russian TASS news agency that quoted the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"The Russian foreign ministry has expressed resolute protest to Romania's Charge d'Affaires in Russia Viorel Cojocaru over the Romanian authorities' ban on a flight across its airspace of a passenger plane of the Globus airline which was on a regular flight from Moscow to Chisinau," the ministry said.

"It was stressed that security of more than 160 passengers on board that plane was put at risk," the ministry stressed. "They failed to reach their destination in due time."

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Moscow qualifies the incident as "a deliberate provocation causing serious damage to bilateral relations." "We have urged the Romanian authorities to carry out a thorough investigation of the incident and give the Russian side the relevant explanations."

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin's visit to Moldova due to take place on Friday was frustrated by Romania's refusal to let the regular passenger flight S7-157 Moscow-Chisinau with the Russian delegation fly over its territory under a pretext of carrying a "blacklisted person," according to TASS.

The plane made a stopover in Minsk, from where Rogozin took a regular Aeroflot flight to Moscow.

Rogozin was expected to have talks in Chisinau with Moldovan President Igor Dodon at the latter's invitation.

Behind Romania's refusal to allow the S7 plane to Chisinau to enter its airspace is the West, Rogozin argued. AGERPRES (RO - author: Oana Ghita, editor: Florin Marin; EN -author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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