Finnish FM highlights Cyprus? contribution to Lebanon crisis
by Nicos Bellos
Brussels, Jul 18 (CNA) ? Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuommioja, whose country currently holds the EU Presidency, has made a special reference to the services offered by Cyprus for the evacuation of EU and other citizens from Lebanon.
The EU Foreign Ministers Council discussed Monday the situation in the Middle East and appealed to all parties to ensure the safe and speedy passage from Lebanon of those citizens of EU member states, as well as other expatriates, who wish to leave Lebanon.
Speaking during the Council meeting, Cyprus Foreign Minister George Lillikas briefed his EU counterparts on government initiatives to provide assistance in the effort to evacuate Cypriots and other EU citizens from Lebanon.
He said Cyprus has already placed at the disposal of the EU its infrastructure ? ports, airports and hospitals ? to facilitate the operation.
Lillikas outlined Cyprus' positions on the situation in Lebanon, noting that the Union must take a clear stand and make an immediate call for a cease-fire.
He called on the EU to denounce Hizbollah?s offensive against Israel and at the same time call on Israel to stop its military operations.
Furthermore, he expressed Cyprus? concern for the worsening of the humanitarian situation at Gaza, due to the Israeli attacks.
Lillikas stressed that Cyrus is a step away from the region of the crisis and that continuation of this crisis will lead to destabilization of the whole region.