Volcanic ash not affects NATO operations: chief

22:06, April 19, 2010      

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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday that the alliance's operations had not been negatively affected by volcanic ash from Iceland, which has caused an unprecedented airspace shutdown in large parts of Europe.

Fogh Rasmussen told a monthly press conference that "I can assure you that the Icelandic volcano does not have any effects on, neither our operations nor our territorial defence of allied member states."

It reported that several NATO F-16 fighters suffered engine damage after flying through the volcanic ash cloud. Fogh Rasmussen said that he had no information on that.

The foreign ministers from NATO member states are schedule to convene in the Estonian capital of Tallinn on Thursday and Friday. However, while the flight ban continues in many European countries, the meeting would probably be canceled or postponed.

"For the moment, the meeting is still on. We are waiting to see if some of the flight restrictions will be eased today, and if so, what that will mean for the meeting. If changes need to be made, we will announce them tomorrow. But for now, preparations continue as before," Fogh Rasmussen said.

Source: Xinhua


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