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09-08-2020 17:12

Intervention by the President of the Republic Mr Nicos Anastasiades at the international teleconference on providing assistance and support to the Lebanese people

Allow me to express once more on behalf of the Government and the people of Cyprus our unwavering solidarity with Lebanon and its people during one of the most heartbreaking periods of the country’s history.

I wish to also convey our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, as well as our wishes for the speedy recovery of those injured. We are still in shock and in disbelief having seen the images of immeasurable destruction and suffering caused to the beautiful city of Beirut and its hospitable population.

Before proceeding further, it would be amiss if I did not extend my sincere appreciation to the leading initiative by President Macron and support provided by the UN Secretary – General to hold this much-needed international conference.

Today, our actions and tangible solidarity towards Lebanon and its people must speak louder than words. The international community must act, and must do so swiftly and decisively, to provide the necessary aid and assistance to Lebanon.

A country which was already facing an unprecedented economic and financial crisis, whilst at the same time assuming a disproportionate weight by offering refugees to over a million and a half-displaced Syrians.

Cyprus, which has always had brotherly relations with Lebanon, having, among other things, offered a safe haven to thousands of Lebanese refugees fleeing the civil wars in 1976 and in 2006, stands ready to do its utmost and actively support international efforts designed to alleviate the immense grief and suffering of the Lebanese people.

To this end, and in response to President Macron’s call, the Cypriot Government will be offering:

  1. Financial assistance amounting to five million Euros.
  2. We stand ready to place the international airports of Larnaka and Pafos and the “Andreas Papandreou” military airbase, as well as the ports of Limassol and Larnaka, all in close geographic proximity to Lebanon, at the disposal of UNIFIL, the United Nations and of the international community in general, for any humanitarian and other assistance deemed necessary.
  3. Cyprus has already sent rescue units to Lebanon and is ready to provide additional assistance of this kind, if requested by my dear friend, President Michel Aoun.

In addition, over five tons of assistance in material have been sent to Beirut, with 40 more to follow in the next few days, including medical supplies, generators, clothing and non-perishable foodstuff. This material assistance will continue to be provided in the days and weeks to come.

This was my personal appeal and urging to the Cypriot citizens, whose response has been heartwarming, reflecting their willingness, in the midst of a global pandemic, to come to the aid of their Lebanese brothers and sisters.

Throughout its history Lebanon has faced many challenges, but, due to the tenacity and resilience of the Lebanese people, has managed to overcome them.

I am convinced that the international community will provide its solidarity and necessary support so as for Lebanon, yet again, to overcome a seemingly unsolvable crisis.