Cyprus Mail    2011/2/1 19:29:09

First evacuees land from Egypt
By Elias Hazou
Published on February 1, 2011

SOME 30 Cypriots were last night still awaiting evacuation from Cairo, as authorities here set up an operations centre at Larnaca airport to handle the expected influx of foreign nationals fleeing neighbouring Egypt.

Twenty-nine Cypriots were scheduled to return here aboard an Egypt Air jet, which at the time of going to press had not yet been cleared to take off from Cairo.

Ten Cypriot citizens did arrive aboard a US charter flight last night at around 9.30pm, along with some 150 US citizens, but it too had been repeatedly delayed throughout the day.

Andreas Zenonos, head of consular affairs, said 29 Cypriots were waiting for their plane to take off from Cairo’s international airport, where the situation was described as chaotic yesterday.

Most observers anticipated the skies would probably open today even though flights to and from the airport have been officially cancelled until 10am today.

“We are searching for solutions for them [the Cypriot passengers]…but things are looking difficult at the moment,” Zenonos said.

“As long as nothing is getting off the ground, we can’t say anything for certain.”

The Foreign Ministry was in touch with the Cypriots stranded at Cairo airport, and had advised them to stay there for their own safety, he added.

Meanwhile Greece was making arrangements to send out several C-130 military transport aircraft to Egypt today to airlift Greek citizens. Zenonos said the Foreign Ministry was in contact with the Greek government to see whether some or all the stranded Cypriots could be boarded on the C-130s.

“It all hinges on whether flights will resume,” said Zenonos. Anyone concerned about relatives in Egypt should contact the consular services in Nicosia for information.

Reports last night suggested that Cairo international airport – where thousands of foreign nationals have congregated to flee the country – might also be shut today due to the massive ‘million man march’ planned for Mubarak’s Presidential Palace, which his situated not far from the airport. Security measures deployed in the area could further hamper access to the airport.

One of the few planes that was able to leave Egypt early yesterday was a US Air Force plane returning to Larnaca Airport with 42 US Embassy (Cairo) officials and their dependents.

James Ellickson-Brown from the US Embassy said that onboard the US Air Force flight –which had taken off for Egypt earlier in the day – were US consular officials from Nicosia whose job it was to organise paperwork and evacuations of any US citizens in Egypt who may choose to leave that country.

The military plane returned from Cairo shortly after 3pm, carrying ferrying employees of the US Embassy in Cairo, family members and officials from that embassy as well as officials from other US Embassies in African nations who at the time happened to be in the Egyptian capital attending a conference.

“We’re calling it an authorised departure, in that whoever is employed at the US Embassy in Cairo may leave if they so wish,” Ellickson-Brown said. It was not an evacuation of the embassy there, he explained.

He said the evacuation was being coordinated by the US State Department out of Washington DC. US officials have said it will take several flights over the coming days to fly out the thousands of Americans who want to leave Egypt.
“It is a fluid situation as we understand it, one thing we have been doing is tracking the number of people who have been trying to contact the embassy or State Department. I understand 1,000 American citizens in Cairo have managed to contact the embassy,” Ellickson-Brown said.

The US Embassy in Nicosia has been mobilised since Saturday evening, and has assigned some 30 of its personnel to Larnaca’s operations centre to assist any Americans arriving on the island.

“The first thing is that they are going to be welcomed and our main job is to get them to what we call a safe haven, that is away from a place they didn’t want to be to a place where they are safe and have options,” he said.

The US government was preparing to transport Americans out of Egypt primarily via Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, Ellickson-Brown said.

Adamos Aspris, spokesman for Hermes Airports, said foreign nationals would be allowed entry and given provisional lodgings until their departure for the USA or Europe.

Unconfirmed reports spoke of at least nine Larnaca-bound aircraft marooned on the runway at Cairo international airport awaiting takeoff clearance.

Government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said that “some countries” had contacted the government asking for its help in providing facilities to any of their citizens transported out of Egypt.

“The Republic of Cyprus has stated it is ready to provide the necessary assistance and already some countries – including the United States – are making use of that assistance,” he said.

Stefanou said there are approximately 1,500 Cypriots residing in Egypt, in addition to a number of people who are currently in the country on business.

According to the Cypriot Ambassador to Cairo, “certain criminal elements” – evidently referring to looters – had attempted to storm the Cypriot Embassy there.

“我们正在寻找他们的解决方案[塞浦路斯乘客] ...但事情看起来目前困难,”Zenonos说。
同时希腊作出安排,派出几个C - 130军用运输机今天空运到埃及希腊公民。 Zenonos说,外交部正与希腊政府接触,看看是否部分或全部滞留塞人可以在C - 130运输机登上。
“一切都取决于是否将恢复航班,说:”Zenonos。 任何人都关注在埃及亲属应在尼科西亚联系的信息,领事服务。
报告昨晚建议,开罗国际机场 - 其中外籍人员数以千计聚集逃离了这个国家 - 可能也被关闭今天由于大规模的'百万人游行'对穆巴拉克的总统府,是与其位于不远处的机场计划。 保安措施部署在该地区可能会进一步阻碍进入机场。
詹姆斯埃里克森褐色来自美国大使馆说,船上的美国空军飞行而采取了埃及当天早些时候关闭 - 被美国从尼科西亚其任务是组织和任何手续撤离美国公民在埃及的领事官员谁可以选择离开该国。
“我们称这是在该授权出发,不管是谁在开罗的美国大使馆可能给就业,如果愿意的话,”埃里克森-布朗说。 这不是一个使馆撤离在那里,他解释说。
他说,撤离是由美国国务院华盛顿特区进行协调。 美国官员已表示,将在未来几天几个航班飞出成千上万的美国人谁想要离开埃及。
“这是一个动荡不定的局势,因为我们理解,但有一点我们一直在做的是跟踪的人谁一直在试图联系使馆或国务院数目。 我知道1000在开罗的美国公民必须设法联系使馆,“埃里克森-布朗说。
Adamos Aspris,为爱马仕机场发言人说,外国人将被允许进入并给予直至他们对美国或欧洲出发的临时住所。
“塞浦路斯共和国已表示它准备提供必要的援助,已经有些国家 - 包括美国 - 正在使用的这种援助,”他说。
据塞浦路斯驻开罗,“某些犯罪分子” - 显然指的劫掠者 - 曾试图冲进塞浦路斯大使馆。


Advertisement Service - 关于本站 - 联系方法 - 客户服务 - 免责条款 - 广告服务



塞浦路斯 版权所有 2000-2013 © www.sdsky.com