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Cyprus facilitates evacuations from Lebanon
2006-07-16 11:54:04

Nicosia, Jul 16 (CNA) -- Cyprus has declared its readiness to assist efforts for the evacuation of EU citizens and other nationals fleeing Lebanon, after the continuing pounding by Israeli planes.

''Cyprus is prepared to assist every foreign citizens trapped in Lebanon. We will provide every possible assistance and all necessary accommodation to assist all European citizens and other nationals,'' Cypriot Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis said Sunday.

He also added that ''Cyprus, an EU member state will prove to be a safe destination and an effective communication hub between Europe, Middle East and Africa.''

Cypriot Foreign Ministry's Permanent Secretary Sotos Zakheos told CNA that a cruise ship, chartered by the French government, is expected today at the south-eastern port of Larnaca and will conduct cruises from there, with a view to evacuate European citizens from Lebanon.

''This is a French initiative to evacuate all European citizens from Lebanon,'' he added.

Furthermore, five Italian military C-130 transferred from Saturday night until Sunday morning Italian and other European citizens from Lebanon to Cyprus.

Cyprus Defence Ministry has said that it will offer facilities to a French military aircraft that will carry staff of the French Foreign Ministry to Lebanon to assist to the evacuation of EU citizens.

US State Department has announced that it has been working with US Defence Department on how they will transport US citizens to Cyprus, from where they will embark on commercial flights for onward travel.

The Cypriot government already announced that it will issue for one week visas at the Cypriot airports, to Lebanese citizens who live in Europe and wish to come to Cyprus to be near their country.

''All will happen through Cyprus,'' Zakheos said.

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