Geneva airport refuses to admit doctors of Ali Kafi

When an Algerian government jet brought the very seriously ill ex-president to Geneva the airport reception was less tnan acceptable.

When the Algerian government Gulf IV jet, registered as 7T-VPM, landed just after 2am on Monday morning, carrying the very seriously ill ex-president Ali Kafi and four of his doctors, it seems that three of the doctors were refused entry because they did not have (time to obtain) entry visas. In the resulting diplomatic incident it appears that everyone concerned with this refusal is scrambling like mad to do a CYA : Cover Your Anus (euphemism!) and/or to hide behind a wall of silence.

The ever-present, indefatigable airport spokesman, Bertrand Stämpfli, was for once reduced to silence, saying that the airport could neither confirm nor deny the incident, arguing that the airport was unable to comment on private diplomatic flights (actually, the airport virtually never comments on any private or business jet movements!).

Other people also attempted to claim a lack of competence to comment. The police spokesman, Eric Grandjean, claimed that it was up to Berne to respond (but most of Berne would have been celebrating the victory of their ice hockey team!). As for the DFAE authorities, an answer of "no comment" seems to have been the reaction.

All this demonstrates the natural reaction when something embarassing happens: claim that you can say nothing (unless you can find someone else to blame). Whatever happened to common sense? Why did not someone telephone to the airport director, asking him to authorise an exception to the normal rules?

In the modern world it seems that following standard procedures and ticking the right boxes is more important than making a sensible decision!

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