Lieberman to discuss upcoming flotilla in Cyprus meeting

FM to meet with counterparts from Greece, Italy, Malta and Cyprus; immigration resulting from Arab turmoil expected to be high on agenda.

April 28, 2011 18:25
1 minute read.
Mavi Marmara

flotilla 311. (photo credit: Creative Commons)

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman traveled to Cyprus on Thursday for a two-day informal meeting of foreign ministers of a number of southern European countries, at which the issue of the upcoming flotilla to Gaza is expected to be high on the agenda.

The meeting will include the foreign ministers of Greece, Italy, Malta and Cyprus, and the deputy foreign minister of Bulgaria.

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Israel’s relations with Greece and Cyprus have improved dramatically since ties with Turkey have worsened. Cypriot President Dimitri Christofias, who is the force behind the meeting, visited Israel in March and will meet Lieberman in Nicosia.

Israel has expressed its appreciation in the past to Cyprus and Greece for not letting their ports be used by Gaza-bound “humanitarian aid” ships.

According to diplomatic officials, each minister will raise issues important to their own country, with immigration likely to also be high on the agenda because of an influx of refugees resulting from the upheaval in the Arab world.

A spokesman for the IHH, the Turkish-based Foundation for Human rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, which is organizing the upcoming flotilla, was quoted as saying Wednesday in the Turkish daily Hurriyet that an international collation of 22 NGOs hopes to send 15 vessels with up to 1,500 people.

Israeli officials, however, said that these NGOs are having difficulty raising money for the action.

Last year’s flotilla, which included the Mavi Marmara, was made up of six ships.

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