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Lebanon UN peace-keeping force administration headquarters in Cyprus
2006-08-24 12:26:49

Larnaca, Aug 24-- The United Nations have informed the Republic of Cyprus that they have decided to set up on the island the administration headquarters of its peacekeeping force for Lebanon, to facilitate the transfer of its personnel to Lebanon.

In statements before leaving for Lebanon today on board a French military helicopter, Cyprus? Foreign Minister George Lillikas said that during his visit, he will meet his Lebanese counterpart Faazi Salloukh, the Lebanese Prime Minister and with the Orthodox Bishop of Beirut. He would also visit areas destroyed during Israeli raids against Lebanon.

Mr. Lillikas also said he will discuss with Mr. Siniora and Mr. Salloukh ?the current situation and the developments? and he will brief them ?on the help or the fields in which Cyprus can continue to contribute and offer help by providing services of the Republic of Cyprus for the transport of the peacekeeping force to Lebanon and of humanitarian aid via Cyprus.?

''The UN have decided to set up in Cyprus the administrative headquarters of the peacekeeping force for the transport of the force to Lebanon,'' he told reporters.

Mr. Lillikas said that the government will work with the UN to set up the necessary infrastructure, in collaboration with UNFICYP (UN peace keeping force in Cyprus) and noted that ?we have developed various ideas on how we can help the reconstruction of Lebanon, which we will discuss on the ground.?

The UN notified the Republic of their intentions about the force a few days ago.

Mr. Lillikas noted that the government, along with UNFICYP will examine where it is more practical to set up the headquarters.

?It may be in Nicosia to be closer to UNFICYP for easier cooperation,? he added.

Cyprus has been a safe haven for thousands of people who fled war-ravaged Lebanon during the recent fighting. It serves as a transit place for foreign diplomats and other officials travelling to the Middle East, all of whom have praised the government of the Republic for its immediate and successful response to the huge influx of people of all nationalities, leaving the war zone.

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