News
Cyprus & World News

BOOTED: Cyprus says sorry over security gaffe with Egypt ambassador

02 January, 2013

Cyprus apologised to the Egyptian ambassador on Wednesday after a fracas with police over security screening of her footwear at the island's main airport in Larnaca.

Egyptian ambassador Menha Mahrous Bakhoum was involved in an argument with police when she was asked to undergo security checks to enter the departure terminal on December 29, where she was seeing off members of her family.

Cypriot media reported the ambassador agreed to undergo security screening but objected to removing her boots. In a heated debate that followed, media reported, a police officer was slapped and the ambassador was manhandled by police.

An apology released by the government on Wednesday lauded its "brotherly relations" with Egypt. Cyprus shares a common sea border with Egypt in an area thought to be rich in oil and gas.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs publicly and sincerely expresses its regret and apologises over the treatment of the Ambassador," Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou Markoullis said in a written statement.

Treatment of the ambassador was not consistent with the ambassador's individual rights or her diplomatic status, the minister said.