Cube and the United States have signed a five-year anti-hijacking pact. The agreement means anyone?
Cube and the United States have signed a five-year anti-hijacking pact. The agreement means anyone forcing a pilot to take an aircraft to either country faces heavy penalties -- though each country can still use discretion in admitting political refugees.
The agreement was signed on Thursday, 15 February, and was announced at a news conference given by the US signatory, Secretary of State William Rogers. He stressed that the pact -- the first exchange since the two states broke off relations in 1961 -- was not an indication of a change in US attitude towards Cuba; it was not a step towards diplomatic exchanges.
The agreement was signed on behalf of Cuba by the Czechoslovakian Charge d'Affaires, Mr. Jaroslav Zantovaski. It applies both to air and sea hijacking There have been 87 US planes diverted to Cuba in the past 12 years, while Cubans have often commandeered small boats and sailed them to the US. Under the new pact the "host" country must either return the uninvited "guests" to the country where the hijacking occurred, or else prosecute them fully. The hijacked aircraft or boats, passengers, and any ransom obtained by the hijackers, must also be returned immediately.
Mr. Rogers announced that the US hoped to reach similar agreements with other nations, particularly Algeria, another favourite destination for hijackers.
SYNOPSIS: In Washington, Secretary of State William Rogers has announced a pact with Cuba against hi-jackers.