Source Pravda.Ru

Detained US Senators get apology from Russian Foreign Ministry

Russia's foreign ministry said Monday it regretted that the airline flight of two U.S. senators had been delayed in Perm, the Urals region, today.

"We regret the misunderstanding and inconveniences for the senators," the ministry said.

"The flight of the U.S. Air Force airplane carrying the senators and their assistants was delayed at the Perm airport by border officials who had to look into relevant formalities and the flight's status," the ministry said.

Russian and American special flights have a number of reciprocal diplomatic privileges, including simpler border and customs procedures, the ministry said. "When Moscow confirmed the flight's diplomatic status, the senators left Russia," reports RIA Novosti.

According to Reuters, the flight was delayed because local border officials were unsure of the procedure for dealing with military aircraft on international flights and needed time to clarify this, the statement said.

"There was a lack of understanding about the status of the ... flight," said a spokesman at the U.S. embassy in Moscow.

"Once it was clarified, the plane left without being searched. The problem was solved," he said.

U.S. media reported heated arguments at Perm's airport on Sunday and that the White House, the Secretary of State and the Pentagon got involved in efforts to resolve the problem, contacting their counterparts in Moscow.