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Yemenia faces mounting French pressure over crash probe

Yemeni flag-carrier Yemenia could come under pressure from the European Commission as France's government becomes increasingly impatient with investigative progress on a fatal Airbus A310 accident.The Yemenia A310 crashed off the coast of the Comoros Islands in June 2009, killing 152 on board, but the investigation has "stalled", said French transport minister Thierry Mariani.

He reiterated French determination to obtain an explanation for the accident, but added that - despite offers of assistance from France's Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses - there had been a lack of co-operation from the Yemeni authorities and no inquiry report from the Comoros.

Following discussions with representatives of the victims' families, Mariani said: "The government is more determined than ever to shed some light on this tragedy."

He said the situation was "unacceptable" and that France would maintain diplomatic pressure and examine all options available, adding that this includes exploring, with the European Commission, the implications of the Yemeni authorities' attitude regarding flight safety at Yemenia.

Yemenia has previously been discussed by the European Air Safety Committee - responsible for drawing-up the blacklist of banned airlines - but has not faced restrictions to its services as a result.

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