The Republic of Cyprus has already set in place a contingency plan, dubbed “Estia”, to respond to problems that will possibly emerge due to the crisis in Syria, Communications and Works Minister Tasos Mitsopoulos said on Tuesday.
He added that Greece has already expressed readiness in aiding Cyprus to perform mass evacuation operations of third nationals, mainly from Lebanon, as well as Syria.
According to an official announcement, Mitsopoulos met Tuesday morning with high ranking Greek officials, to discuss the issue.
Speaking after the meeting, the Minister noted that he exchanged views with Patroclos Georgiades from the Greek Ministry of Public Order and Angelos Syrigos form the Greek Ministry of Interior, in the framework of coordinating actions to address the humanitarian crisis in Syria.
The two Greek officials had a series of contacts in Nicosia on Tuesday, aiming, according to Mitsopoulos “to better coordinate efforts by the two countries to deal with problems that may possibly arise from the eruption of the crisis in Syria”.
The aim, he went on, is to manage an eventual mass evacuation of refugees, either from Syria or Lebanon.
“We are fully prepared to deal with every incident” the Minister said and added that Greece has also expressed readiness to aid the Republic of Cyprus in evacuating foreign nationals en masse.
In statements, later on Tuesday, Patroclos Georgiades said that the Greek side has set in place its own contingency plan, called “Ioni”, and noted that the aim for Athens and Nicosia is to “coordinate efforts, in order to deal with refugee flows though common actions”.
The two governments will join forces, while activating in parallel European mechanisms for providing assistance, the Greek official said.
“The problem will not solely concern Cyprus or Greece, but Europe and our partners as well” he noted.
From his part, Angelos Syrigos said that Cyprus and Greece have a common approach on the problem during these difficult times, while coordinating their action to assist possible evacuation operations from Syria and Lebanon.
He added that “the problems have a common root and require close cooperation”.
Syrigos clarified that third nationals to be evacuated, will remain in Cyprus for a short period, before being transferred to other countries. Greece will assist Cyprus in accelerating the operation.
The Greek officials met also in the morning with the Minister of Interior Socratis Hasikos and attended later a broad meeting at the Foreign Ministry Crisis Management Center.
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