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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 06-08-16

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    European Union Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel said the European Commission will grant 30 million euros towards humanitarian assistance to Lebanon and the EU partners will grant another 70 million euros.

    He made the statement on his arrival at Larnaca Airport from Lebanon where he was accompanied by Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Paula Lehtomaki, whose country holds the current six-monthly EU presidency.

    French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy was also on the same helicopter flight from Lebanon but departed for France immediately on arrival at Larnaca International Airport.

    The three officials were welcomed by Cypriot Finance Minister Michaelis Sarris, Head of European Commission Representation to Cyprus Themis Themistocleous and Finlands attache to Cyprus, Sanna Selin.

    Michel and Lehtomaki will remain in Cyprus before departing in the early hours for Israel, where they will hold talks with Israeli officials.

    In his statements Michel said the EU Finish Presidency and the European Commission organized a mission in Lebanon in order to show the deep commitment of the EU member states and Commission to help the Lebanese population.

    He said one of their messages to Israel is that it is absolutely necessary that Israel raises the blockade because it creates problems for Lebanon to receive fuel and all the products they need in order to make life more comfortable for the people.

    Also we would like Israel to give the plans of the mines that they put on the ground because it is dangerous to the people. Also the bombs which are not exploded are another problem to the people so we have to tackle all these at the same time, he added

    He noted that there is also a message to the Lebanese government that we cannot have a Lebanese democrat state with a political movement being at the same time an armed movement.

    So the disarmament of Hezbollah is a main problem, he said, noting that this can be solved and if the deployment of the troops can happen very quickly.

    Replying to a question Michel said that the European Commission will give 30 million euros as an aid to Lebanon and EU member states will give another 70 million euros by early September.

    On her part Lehtomaki said it is now time for the EU to be very active.

    The current ceasefire gives us much better possibilities to have the access of humanitarian assistance and we hope and we are going to do our utmost to guarantee that this ceasefire is the beginning of a permanent peace which has to be built on a comprehensive solution for the whole region not for this crisis only, she added

    It is extremely important to strengthen the state of Lebanon and the EU is, has been and will be a strong partner for the government of Lebanon in this current situation of humanitarian assistance and also in a longer term in a reconstruction term that is about to begin quite soon, she noted.

    She thanked Cyprus and its people for the active and decisive role they have played in the evacuation process of the EU citizens in the beginning of this crisis. It was a very efficient and successful process and I know that the government and the people here in Cyprus have played a crucial role in this process, she said.

    Sarris said the European officials thanked Cyprus for its role during the Lebanon crisis.

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