RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s Civil Aviation Authority says the reason that the Sudanese president’s plane was barred from crossing Saudi airspace en route to Iran earlier this weekend was because it did not ask for routine permission.
It said in a statement Tuesday that the plane’s pilot declared he was carrying President Omar al-Bashir only when the plane was headed back to Sudan.
Sudan said on Sunday that Saudi authorities barred al-Bashir’s plane from entering kingdom airspace on his way to Tehran to attend the inauguration of Iran’s new President Hasan Rouhani.
The Saudi statement says al-Bashir’s plane is a special chartered Saudi aircraft registered outside the kingdom without the right to make commercial flights.
It said there was no other reason behind its decision.
Saudi Arabia and Iran are regional foes.