The Taoiseach is stood up by the President of the Russian Federation when Boris Yeltsin fails to emerge from his plane at Shannon Airport.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin's plane touched down at Shannon Airport an hour later than expected. However, this was just the first in a chain of extraordinary events to unfold during what was to be Boris Yeltsin’s first official visit to Ireland as Russian Federation President.
An Taoiseach Albert Reynolds and his delegation went to the runway to greet President Yeltsin only to be met with a further delay of fifteen minutes. Then Russia’s deputy prime minister, Oleg Soskovets, emerged from the plane and informed the delegation that
President Yeltsin was indisposed and would be unable to meet the Taoiseach for the planned talks.
Following the delay, a working lunch at Dromoland Castle and a visit by Mrs Reynolds and Mrs Yeltsin to Bunratty were cancelled. At Shannon Airport the red carpet was rolled up and the guard of honour and a joint press conference were also cancelled.
Oleg Soskovets held talks with Albert Reynolds on behalf of the Russian President and when the brief meeting concluded he explained that Mr Yeltsin's non appearance was down to physical exhaustion.
Some business was achieved with Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications Brian Cowen expecting to sign a new aviation co-operation agreement with the Russian Federation to build on Shannon Airport’s existing relationship with Aeroflot and other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) airlines.
I believe that will have great possibilities for further improving and cementing the relationship which has been thankfully developed with Aeroflot in Shannon over the years.
The government has also approved a customs preclearance cargo facility at Shannon for the Russian Federation and has set up a Shannon Airport marketing agency with the specific aim of boosting traffic.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 30 September 1994. The reporter is Cathy Halloran.