Cypriot Foreign Ministry`s Consular Affairs Division Director Omiros Mavrommatis said that the meeting dealt with the basic concern of how to facilitate European citizens expected to arrive to Cyprus from Lebanon on ships.
European and other countries plan to evacuate their citizens from Lebanon through Cyprus, either by air or by sea. France already chartered a Greek cruise ship ``Ierapetra`` to evacuate French and other European citizens from Lebanon to Cyprus. The US State Department announced that it works on plans to carry US citizens from Lebanon to Cyprus, while Britain already began to transfer British and other citizens from Lebanon to its Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus.
``At this moment there are tenths of thousands of Europeans and other nationals in Lebanon and some countries use Cyprus for repatriating their citizens,`` Mavrommatis said.
He said an Italian ship is expected to arrive to Cyprus in the afternoon carrying 400 Italians from Lebanon, while Ierapetra is expected to arrive to Cyprus by tomorrow, carrying passengers including 300 children - 200 of whom unescorted - as well as 10 Cypriots, adding that another 4 or 5 vessels are expected to arrive to Cyprus within the week, carrying more than 5,000 persons.
Mavrommatis said that Cyprus satisfied the French government`s request and provided 10 Cypriots volunteers who are on board the Ierapetra to take care of the 200 unescorted children.
He also said that the Cypriot authorities discussed the possibility of Lebanese nationals fleeing to Cyprus, expressing hope that the crisis in the neighbouring country would cease and therefore the Lebanese would not be forced to leave their homeland.
Furthermore, British High Commission Spokesman George Stylianou told CNA that Britain is in full coordination and cooperation with Cypriot authorities for the transferring of British and other nationals from Lebanon.
Stylianou noted that a British military helicopter carried approximately 40 persons, mainly British citizens and other nationals from Lebanon, while a second helicopter will carry out another flight from Lebanon to Cyprus.
He also said that there are 4,000 British families in Lebanon - the largest group of EU nationals there.
According to Stylianou France and the US have requested and secured permission to use the British Sovereign Bases in Cyprus to transfer their nationals there.
Meanwhile, a Cypriot FM press release issued here today said that three Cypriot children who were on vacation in Nabadiye arrived to Beirut by car today and efforts are made for their safe return to Cyprus.