Task force set up to reduce risks of flying over conflict zones

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A senior level task force made up of experts in the aviation industry and government officials has been established to reduce the risks of civilian planes flying over conflict areas.

Organized by the UN agency that governs civil aviation, ICAO, the meeting was triggered by the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over the troubled eastern Ukraine region.

The Malaysian jet liner was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 passengers and 15 crew members were killed.

ICAO and four other international aviation organizations met in Montreal to prepare the groundwork for the task force.

The group stressed the need for accurate and timely information and intelligence that might affect the safety of passengers and crew.

States have a responsibility to address any potential risks to civil aviation in their airspace, ICAO recalled.

Meanwhile, the UN specialized agency has been asked to address "fail-safe channels" so that authorities in the civilian aviation industry may be warned of an essential threat.

Also discussed was the need to incorporate into international law, through appropriate UN frameworks, measures to govern the design, manufacture and deployment of modern anti-aircraft weaponry.

ICAO has convened a High-level Safety Conference with all of its 191 Member States in February 2015.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1'30''

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