The authorities of Bashkiria (a republic within the Russian Federation in the Volga area) do not refuse to receive Kaspar Villiger, president of the Swiss Confederation, who expressed the desire to visit Ufa to take part in mourning events in memory of the victims of the air crash of the Bashkirian Airlines Tu-154 plane.
Konstantin Tolkachev, chairman of the State Assembly of Bashkiria, said this to journalists in Ufa, Bashkiria's capital, on Saturday.
At the same time, he noted that "considering a special emotional atmosphere" that has evolved in the republic, this visit was, probably, "not too desirable".
In his opinion, this situation "has been largely created by the media." Funerals of the victims of the aircrash over Germany are being held in Ufa Saturday.
The plane carrying bodies of the aircrash victims left Friedrichshafen airport Friday night.
On the night of July 2nd, a Russian Tu-154 passenger airliner of the Bashkirian Airlines slammed into a Boeing 757 cargo jet from the DHL international delivery service at 11,000 meters over Bodensee (southern Germany). The Tu-154 passenger jet had 12 crew members and 57 passengers aboard, 52 of them children going on vacation to Spain. The Boeing had two pilots aboard.
Earlier, it was planned that the president of the Swiss Confederation, Kaspar Villiger, will come to Bashkiria for the mourning ceremonies. According to a Swiss newspaper report, Villiger's visit was to "smooth over the feeling that the Confederation has no compassion for relatives of the aircrash victims." However, the visit was cancelled. On Friday night, the federal finance department of Switzerland issued a statement from which it followed that the Russian foreign ministry had informed the Swiss embassy in Moscow that in conditions of "an extremely high emotional tension" caused by the aircrash and the death of people, the Ufa authorities "cannot guarantee the delegation's safety." As was noted in the statement, Villiger was going "to express solidarity with the victims' relatives on behalf of himself and the Swiss people." He regrets that "he cannot offer his personal condolences to Switzerland." The July 2 aircrash occurred within the air space controlled by the Skyguide air traffic control centre operating in Zurich-Kloten airport (Switzerland), one of the largest airports in Europe.
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