Cyprus offers help to Cypriots and other citizens fleeing Lebanon
Nicosia, Jul 13 - The Cyprus Republic has expressed its readiness to contribute to efforts to evacuate not only its own but also other EU nationals who are fleeing Israeli bombings and a sea and air blockade against Lebanon.
Foreign Ministry Permanent Secretary Sotos Zakheos has said that Cyprus Airways is evacuating around 116 people from Lebanon, on a plane from Damascus.
Earlier today Deputy Minister to the President and Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardes said that Cyprus will do its utmost for the safe transfer not only for Cypriots but other EU citizens as well.
In statements this afternoon, Mr. Zakheos said the Foreign Ministry has chartered a Cyprus Airways airplane which would leave the Syrian capital Damascus this evening, with passengers coming by buses from Beirut, escorted by Lebanese police, a two and a half hours' drive, under normal circumstances.
The passengers are about 100 Cypriots, six Britons, four French nationals, two people from the Czech Republic and an American.
"Our wish is the safe transfer of the two buses. This is our agony, our concern and our responsibility. We are in constant communication with the Lebanese government, the EU presidency, the Israelis and everyone else who can assist us with this effort", Mr. Zakheos said, adding that an SMS service set up has proven helpful to establish communication with the Cypriots to be repatriated.
He further noted that Cyprus Minister of Health Haris Charalambous has pledged that a team of doctors and psychologists will be at Larnaca airport tonight to offer their support.