25 August, 2006
Greece was the first country to respond to the humanitarian call submitted by the government of Lebanon to the European Union on July 19, 2006 and the first to become involved in the evacuation of civilians from Lebanon, a gesture recognized by the Lebanese government, the European Union and international organizations.
During the period of war, Greece provided Lebanon
• with a total of 97 tons of material assistance consisting of medical supplies and equipment, foodstuff, water, tents and blankets which have been carried by 8 C-130 flights to Larnaca and then shipped to Beirut on board Greek navy tanks.
• The total amount of Greece’s contribution to the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon (in goods, transportation and monetary contributions to international organizations) is evaluated, up to now, at an approximate 2.5 million euros.
• Furthermore, during the crisis and in order to facilitate further shipping of humanitarian aid, the government of Greece offered other EU member-states free transportation of their aid from Larnaca to Beirut on board Greek ships. Following a request made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Evripidis Sytlianidis announced on August 24, 2006 that the Greek government will provide for the free transportation of Swedish humanitarian aid consisting of 10 trucks, 1 trailer, 10.000 blankets, 300 tents and 20 generators from the port of Piraieus, Greece to Cyprus from where it will be shipped to Beirut on board a United Nations vessel.
• From the beginning of the crisis, Greece was the first country to participate actively in the evacuation efforts of civilians fleeing Lebanon, helping evacuating a total of 2.861 civilians from 52 nationalities on board Greek navy ships.
• In a letter sent to her Greek counterpart FM Dora Bakoyannis on August 9, 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice thanked the government of Greece for its active and timely action in assisting American citizens to evacuate from war-ravaged Lebanon. «Thank you for Greece's assistance to American citizens departing from Lebanon. Please convey my appreciation to the Greek officials in Athens, Nicosia, Beirut, and Washington, as well as the captain and crew of the Greek vessels, whose efforts culminated in the safe and swift transport of American citizens from Lebanon. I appreciate the ongoing solidarity that the Greek Government has demonstrated to the American people through its decisive, timely actions. We will continue to work closely with you to bring a peaceful resolution to the situation in the Middle East».
The Greek government announced, on August 22, 2006 its intention to contribute to the Lebanon Peacekeeping Force with:
• one Navy Frigate and its helicopter
• a special commando diving unit to carry out ship inspections
• administrative personnel and support supplies, and if needed,
• a landing vessel to transport humanitarian aid from Cyprus to Beirut. The possibility for the deployment of additional units has not been ruled out provided that the situation in Lebanon is normalized. Furthermore, the government of Greece has expressed its intention to participate actively in the reconstruction efforts in Lebanon.
Source: Press Office of the Embassy of Greece