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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 06-07-22

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President Tassos Papadopoulos called on the EU to help Cyprus in handling the influx of foreign nationals fleeing Lebanon.

    Speaking during a visit to Larnaca Port, President Papadopoulos appealed for planes and coordination to transfer the foreign nationals back to their homelands.

    He said Cyprus is an EU border, therefore the problem is European. So far, President Papadopoulos said, only Finland has responded to a demand for more countries to open their borders.

    Invited to comment on the humanitarian effort underway in Cyprus, President Papadopoulos said given our limited capabilities, we have exceeded ourselves.

    He commended civil servants and the Cyprus Red Cross, noting we cannot praise them enough since they are working around the clock, protecting the name of their country and assuring that Cyprus can be valuable in Europe as a bridge of peace between Middle East countries and Europe.

    Asked if Cyprus will continue providing facilities to Lebanons evacuees, President Papadopoulos said we will continue as long as our restricted means allow us to. He stressed that Cyprus will accept all those who arrive on the island but said he hoped that there will be European solidarity and support since we are on Europes borders. This is not clearly a Cyprus problem, but a European problem, therefore we are expecting a response.

    He thanked Finland which chairs the EU presidency this term, noting that it was the first country which responded to the Cypriot appeals. We provide accommodation for two to three nights, or as long as needed. We need the support of European countries to help these people reach their final destinations. So far only Finland has responded and we are very grateful, he said.

    Papadopoulos noted planes and coordination are needed so that those who arrive will have the necessary coordination as far as their transportation outside Cyprus is concerned. This, he added, has been achieved as far as EU citizens are concerned, but stressed he did not know what would happen if in the future thousands of people from India, Bangladesh or the Philippines arrived.

    Asked if other countries have done enough to help, President Papadopoulos said I believe they could have done much more. To a question if Cyprus should be concerned by possible repercussions from the war in Lebanon, President Papadopoulos replied that Cyprus is concerned with every source of unrest in the region.

    He added that Cyprus is a safe destination and I believe the developments of the last days have proved that Cyprus is a source of security and stability in the region and that it can help in maintaining peace and stability.

    President Papadopoulos visited the ferry boat ``Iera Petra`` which brought French and Belgian nationals to Cyprus, and then inspected the passengers` lounge where the centre coordinating the arrival of the foreign nationals is located.

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