Ban on drones extended for talks in Geneva

Drones can pose a potential security risk, as in France in February, where they were spotted flying over the Eiffel Tower and nuclear facilities. Keystone

A ban on drones over key parts of Geneva’s skies has been extended until the end of the month to protect some of the world’s top diplomats attempting to clinch a deal over Iran’s nuclear programme.

This content was published on March 26, 2016 and agencies

The security measures have been imposed for most of March over parts of Geneva due to prior nuclear talks and a month-long meeting of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, its most important of the year. Officials said the ban would be extended until the end of the month amid mounting expectations for a nuclear agreement to be reached by the March 31 deadline.

On Thursday, US Secretary of State John Kerry resumed discussions with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Other top diplomats are expected to join in the discussions over the weekend if a deal is near.

Talks seeking nuclear concessions from Iran in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions have been going on for years, focused on Iran's enrichment program, which can create both reactor fuel and weapons-grade material suitable for a nuclear bomb.

The United States and the four other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – Britain, China, France and Russia – along with Germany have been trying to prevent Iran from turning this material into the fissile core of nuclear warheads. But Iran insists it is pursuing only nuclear energy, medical treatments and research.

Canton Geneva’s Department of Safety and the Economy on Wednesday announced the extended ban on drones for the communes of Pregny-Chambésy, Grand-Saconnex and the Geneva right bank, as well as the areas of Jonction, Plainpalais, Old Town and Eaux-Vives.

Drones that violate this ban will be “confiscated or destroyed, depending on the threat they pose”, and the drone pilot will be reported to the Federal Office of Civil Aviation, according to a police statement from the previous ban which also covered Montreux in canton Vaud.

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