Cyprus is preparing to assist with the evacuation of as many as 200,000 European Union and third- country nationals in Syria if violence in the country escalates, the government said.
“We have plans to enable the evacuation not only from Syria but also other countries in the area,” Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Markoulli told reporters in Nicosia today. People fleeing the upheaval will reach Cyprus “by plane or by boat and will remain in Cyprus 48 hours before they are transported to their country”.
The plan is similar to the one applied in 2006, when 65,000 citizens from the EU and other countries fled Lebanon for Cyprus during the war with Israel, Kazakou-Markoulli said.
She added that the position of Cyprus, which assumed the EU’s rotating presidency on July 1, with respect to the transition of power in Syria, is that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should resign.
“Bashar has to go,” she said, adding that the island is opposed to any military intervention in Syria.
To contact the reporter on this story: Stelios Orphanides in Nicosia at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at email@example.com