The Republic of Cyprus remains at the disposal of friendly countries for the removal of their nationals from Sudan and is once again proving to be a safe harbor in the region, Foreign Minister Konstantinos Kombos said on Wednesday evening. He also stated that 11 people of Cypriot origin have been released so far.
In statements after a meeting and extended consultations with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jordan, Ayman Safadi, Mr. Kobos said that a total of six flights were expected today and that a total of five flights, with 391 passengers, have arrived since yesterday.
Two flights with 281 people to the UK have also already departed. Also, according to the Foreign Minister, the departure of two more flights to the United Kingdom, which will carry the majority of passengers who have arrived in Cyprus, is expected within the day.
Regarding the people of Cypriot origin he said that 10 arrived in Cyprus in the early hours of the morning and one person was transferred to the Jordanian city of Aqaba on April 25, on a Dutch evacuation flight.
Arrival in Cyprus is still expected four people, while seven people are traveling by bus to Egypt since yesterday. Mr. Kombos said that a a person who was initially included in the list of Cypriots who wished to leave Sudan, chose to stay in the country.
The Foreign Minister stated that the situation is cause for concern and was on the agenda of the Council of Foreign Affairs in Luxembourg on Monday where it was “stressed from our side that through partnerships and close relations with other countries in the region, we are ready to contribute, providing the necessary facilities for temporary accommodation of civilians”.
The Minister said that the National Plan HOSTIA was activated and as of yesterday the Coordination Center “Zinos” is in full operation, with the assistance of all competent State services.
Late at night I visited the Zeno Center. and I verified the readiness of the competent services of the Republic of Cyprus. We are ready to provide humanitarian, consular and medical assistance to the evacuated civilians from Sudan arriving in Cyprus. Cyprus acts as a way station for civilians before they go to their countries of origin, which act as their final destination countries. It is confirmed that in such cases, Cyprus is a safe port in the region”, he noted.
He stated that "our Embassy in Cairo with accreditation in Khartoum and the Honorary Consul there played an essential role in locating the people of Cypriot origin, thus making their release possible" and added that the Ministry's Crisis Management Center contributed decisively to this effort, as well as the local diplomatic missions, in collaboration with other departments of the Ministry.
Mr. Kombos thanked his counterparts from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Greece, Jordan, Egypt, as well as the EU High Representative Josep Borrell for their cooperation and emphasized that "our country, due of its position but also of its infrastructure, it can play an essential role in such crisis cases, as it did in 2006 with the removal of civilians from Lebanon.
In response to a question as to whether we as Cyprus know if other flights with foreign nationals to our country will need to be processed, he replied that we are at the disposal of friendly countries that are trying to evacuate their citizens or citizens of third countries, but this also depends from the situation on the ground.
That is, he explained, whether the temporary ceasefire is essential and is being observed. "So there are security issues and issues related to how far the people who want to leave can go to the evacuation points", he said.
At this point in time, the Foreign Ministry said, the safest position is that we can move according to the data until the next few hours.
He added that there are still a significant number of people who will have to be removed within the parameter of the practical possibility of notifying them, and the Republic of Cyprus remains in disposition of friendly countries that will proceed with such operations and the Zeno center will be at their disposal to manage this situation.