Cyprus acting as hub for Israel evacuations

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Cyprus is at the heart of efforts to evacuate foreign nationals from Israel, President Nikos Christodoulides told political party leaders during a National Council meeting at the Presidential Palace on Monday.

Afterwards, Government Spokesperson Konstantinos Letymbiotis said the President “briefed the political leaders on the situation prevailing in our region following the terrorist attacks against Israel.”

According to Letymbiotis, the President informed party leaders about the humanitarian role Cyprus has assumed in recent days.

“Cyprus has received 26 requests from 26 different countries to act as an evacuation hub, and the government is responding to the best of its ability.

“Additionally, discussions focused on the current situation in the region, its potential developments and how they might affect our country,” said the spokesperson.

Letymbiotis said the requests involve the transfer of foreign nationals wishing to depart from Gaza or Israel to their respective countries, using Cyprus as a transit point.

He said the ‘Estia’ plan – a humanitarian rescue mechanism to provide a safe transfer hub for foreign nationals evacuating Israel – is functioning smoothly and is fully manageable.

Cyprus has so far facilitated the departure of 447 individuals, with around 600 arriving on the island, according to Letymbiotis.

When asked whether Cyprus can handle a large influx of evacuees, given the migration challenges, he agreed that the country’s current responsibilities regarding migration flows are already demanding.

“While migration is not an immediate concern at the moment, we are continuously assessing the situation and adapting as needed.”

On the potential economic consequences of the conflict, he said the President has informed political leaders that a preliminary assessment of the direct and medium-term economic impacts has been carried out.

“This study will need to be regularly updated as events unfold,” said Letymbiotis.

“Recent events will likely have an impact to some extent, which will be closely monitored over the coming days.

“The government is committed to promptly responding to any economic developments to safeguard the nation’s economy”.