Cyprus helped evacuate 2,611 people from Sudan, with Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos declaring on Saturday that the 11-day airlift operation at Larnaca airport has ended.
“The Special National Plan ‘Estia’, which was activated on April 25 following requests from the authorities of friendly countries, has now been completed,” Kombos said, after convening a ministerial committee meeting with his colleagues from Defence, Interior and Justice and Public Order.
“In total, 2611 citizens from 29 different countries were evacuated through Cyprus, escaping the conflict in Sudan. In such circumstances, close cooperation is key for the effective response of the international community,” the foreign minister said.
He added that this has helped project Cyprus as “a factor of regional stability and a safe harbour.”
The cooperation with the staff of diplomatic missions of countries whose citizens travelled to Cyprus, has been exemplary, Kombos said.
The foreign minister praised “the professionalism and dedication” of his ministry’s officials who, under the guidance of the National Crisis Management Team, were present at the ‘Zenon’ Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Larnaca, while coordinating efforts with diplomatic staff in Cairo and Amman.
He also thanked the volunteers, the men and women of the Cyprus Red Cross and members of the Cyprus Civil Defence.
Committed to mediation
Kombos concluded that, “Cyprus remains committed to reinforce the efforts of the international community to address the humanitarian situation in Sudan, while at the same time supporting efforts aiming towards a successful mediation between the two parties to reach a political solution.”
On Friday, the commander of the British Forces in Cyprus and Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) administrator Peter Squires extended the Forces’ gratitude to military and civilian personnel, as well as the government of Cyprus.
The final Royal Air Force flight carrying evacuees from war-torn Sudan landed at Larnaca airport on Thursday night.
“We supported Cyprus and the British High Commission in the delivery of the ‘Estia’ plan, setting up the facilities at Larnaca airport to receive evacuees from multiple nations, supporting their welfare and onward movement,” Squires said.
During the operation, he said that BFC supported over 1,500 additional military personnel, providing everything from accommodation and food to military equipment.