Al Jazeera's John Terrett, reporting from the aircraft, said an American fuel company which had lost its contract to provide fuel at Kigali airport had demanded payment in cash for the fuel.

 

Our correspondent said the fuel company did not want to accept credit cards on cheques from the UN - notoriously slow at paying - but cash for the fuel.

 

So a spectacle ensued with of some of the senior diplomats in the world opening up their wallets to see if they could come up $20,000 in cash.

 

The stalemate lasted about an hour and a half before a senior Rwanda government official arrived to mediate a deal and apologise profusely to the UN delegation on behalf of the government.

 

The aircraft was then refuelled and cleared for its five and a half hour journey to the Ivory Coast.