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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2006, 13:42 GMT
Row cuts off Rwanda's air links
SN Brussels plane
No other companies fly direct from Rwanda to Europe
Rwanda's only air link to Europe has been cut off after a row between the government and the SN Brussels airline.

SN Brussels has suspended its flights after one of its planes was impounded in Rwanda last week.

Rwanda's foreign minister accused the airline of "disgusting" and "shocking" behaviour - treating European passengers better than Africans.

Belgian officials allege the seizure may be linked to the black-listing of a Rwandan air cargo firm last year.

Outrage

Rwandan Foreign Minister Charles Murigande on Monday said that when the last section of a Brussels-Nairobi-Kigali flight was cancelled, Dutch citizens were put up in a hotel and their connecting flights paid for.

He said that Rwandans and Burundians had been left to their own devices.

"We find such an attitude unacceptable, condemnable and even disgusting," he said.

SN Brussels has strongly denied that it discriminated against any of its passengers.

The flight was cancelled after a SN Brussels plane was grounded in Kigali for three days last week, with Rwanda citing safety concerns.

This caused outrage in Belgium and Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt telephoned Rwanda's President Paul Kagame in a bid to get the plane freed.

Rwandan officials denied that the SN Brussels plane was grounded in retaliation for Belgium's ban on Rwanda's Silverback Cargo Freighters last year.

Rwanda used to be a Belgian protectorate.




SEE ALSO:
Timeline: Rwanda
12 Oct 05 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Rwanda
09 Feb 06 |  Country profiles


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