Security Council Expresses 'Deep Distress' at Downing of Iranian Civilian Plane

Article excerpt

Under the text (S/20038)-put forward by Council President Paulo Nogueira-Batista of Brazil following several days of consultations among Council members-the Council welcomed the decision of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), in response to Iran's request, "to institute an immediate fact-finding investigation to determine all relevant facts and technical aspects of the chain of events relating to the flight and destruction of the aircraft".

Announcements by the United States and by Iran of their decisions to co-operate with the ICAO investigation were also welcomed.

The Council urged all parties to the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation "to observe to the fullest extent, in all circumstances, the international rules and practices concerning the safety of civil aviation . . . in order to prevent the recurrence of incidents of the same nature".

The Council stressed the need for a full and rapid implementation of its resolution 598 (1987), "as the only basis for a comprehensive, just, honourable and durable settlement of the conflict between Iran and Iraq", and reaffirmed its support to efforts of Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar to implement that resolution, "committing itself to work with him in the development of his implementation plan",

The Council met four times between 14 and 20 July In requesting the session, Iran said it wanted consideration of "the massacre of 290 innocent civilian passengers of Iran Air flight 655 by the naval forces of the United States".

In letters of 6 and 11 July to the Council President, the United States said that on 3 July, in the course of a United States response to an attack by Iranian small boats, the USS Vincennes had fired in self-defence at what it had believed to be a hostile Iranian military aircraft, after sending repeated warnings, to which the aircraft had not responded.

The United States said it deeply regretted the tragic loss of life and was conducting a full investigation. It did not seek a military confrontation with Iran or a widening of the conflict in the area. Iran: 'A dastardly attack'

Ali-Akbar Velayati, Foreign Minister of Iran, characterized the shooting down of the airliner as a "dastardly attack . . . by a reckless and incompetent naval force led by aggressive and expansionist policymakers". …