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Czech Minister Says Turkmen Plane Incident 'Misunderstanding'

(RFE/RL) December 4, 2006 -- The Czech Republic today said it had accepted Turkmenistan's explanations that the grounding of one of its military planes in Ashgabat two days ago was the result of a "misunderstanding."

Addressing reporters after meeting in Brussels with Turkmenistan's envoy to the OSCE, Esen Aidogdiev, Czech Foreign Minister Aleksandr Vondra said he had received assurances from his interlocutor that Ashgabat was interested in maintaining "friendly relations" with Prague.

Turkmenistan grounded the plane on December 2, reportedly saying there was an armed bodyguard on board whose weapons had not been declared.

The plane was carrying Deputy Defense Minister Martin Bartak and army Chief of Staff Pavel Stefka home from a visit to Czech troops deployed in Afghanistan.

Turkmen authorities authorized the plane to take off after 14 hours.


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