Libyan aid ship to arrive in 2 days

Crew on Gaza-bound ship "maintains a positive mood."

By JPOST.COM STAFF
July 12, 2010 19:42
2 minute read.
Workers load supplies on to a cargo ship at the La

Amalthea 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Activists aboard the Libyan aid ship headed for Gaza plan to arrive at their destination Wednesday, AFP news agency reported Monday.

The website of the charity funding the ship, headed by Saif al-Islam Gadaffi, son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddaffi, stated that "the crew on board the ship maintains a positive mood."

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The aim of the Libyan backed aid ship the Amalthea is to sail directly to Gaza, Youssef Sawani, executive director of Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, which has mounted the operation, said last Sunday in an interview with Army Radio.

In response to these comments Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Army Radio on Sunday that "no ship of any kind will be allowed to arrive at Gaza."

"I hope that common sense will prevail," said Lieberman.  "They can deliver aid for Gaza to [Egyptian port] El-Arish or Ashdod."

The foreign minister added that Israel was not looking for a confrontation but that no one would be allowed to undermine the country's sovereignty.

MK Ahmed Tibi (Ta'al) echoed Sawani's claims that the Amalthea activists are still intending to sail directly to Gaza. Tibi has been in contact with the organization sending the ship.

"The goal is to reach Gaza," said Tibi. "There is not only a humanitarian goal, but there is also a political message."

Amalthea's cargo is 2000 tons of  rice, sugar and corn oil.

The Amalthea departed on Saturday evening from a port southeast of Athens, carrying 2,000 tons of cargo, including sacks of rice and sugar, and corn oil and olive paste, mostly donated by Greek companies and charities, organizers said.

In addition to 15 volunteers – all from Libya, except for a Nigerian and a Moroccan – the ship has a crew of 12 from Cuba, Haiti, India and Syria.

Greek authorities said on Saturday night that the ship was headed for Egypt. “We confirmed the destination in talks with the Libyan ambassador and the ship’s agent,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras said earlier in the day.

"The ambassador speaks for the state of Libya, I speak for the NGO," Sawani said. He said the ship would not seek confrontation with the Israelis.

If Israel does not allow the ship into Gaza, the group will seek "any other appropriate destination — El-Arish or other — to deliver the goods to the people in need," Sawani said.


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