Romanian Air force plane landed in Tripoli (Libya) and La Valleta (Malta)
26. February 2011. | 18:25
Romania keeps permanent contact with the other EU member states to exchange information on the European citizens in the area and the available means of transport.
As many as 126 Romanians have been repatriated already from Libya by special flights organized by other countries, while the rest of those interested in arriving in Romania may fly by the aircrafts Romania's National Defence Ministry sends to the area, or they may travel by the 500 seat ferryboat the European Union sent to Benghazi, 50 percent of the fees being paid by the EU member states, Romanian Foreign Ministry (MAE) spokesperson Doris Mircea said.
C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft belonging to the Romanian Air Force landed at Tripoli Airport while the military aircraft C-27 J Spartan landed in La Valleta Airport in Malta, the Defense Ministry informs. Boarding of Romanian citizens is ensured by the diplomatic staff in Tripoli.
The two Romanian military aircraft took off on Thursday noon from Bucharest.The government adopted on Wednesday a decision approving special measures to be taken as a result of the crisis situation and humanitarian emergency in Libya.
Defense minister Gabriel Oprea ordered the preparation of two transport aircraft belonging to the Air Force to evacuate Romanian citizens from Libya.The Defense and Foreign ministries also decided on the number of flights needed to evacuate all Romanian citizens from Libya who demand it.
At present, about 500 Romanians are still in Libya, Romania's Embassy in Tripoli receiving 450 requests for consular aid and information. As many as 220 of them asked for information about how to leave the area, the MAE official stressed.
MAE welcomes EU decision to activate civil protection mechanism for European citizens in Libya
The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) hails the European Union's decision to activate the Community Civil Protection Mechanism, which supports and facilitates the mobilization of emergency services, for the evacuation of European citizens from Libya, reads a MAE press release sent on Thursday.
The activation of the mechanism was requested on Wednesday, Feb 23, by the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and by the Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton.
MAE considers that the mechanism will help identify and unlock the resources the member states can make available, mainly with a view to evacuating by sea the European citizens who want to leave Libya (departing mainly from the port of Benghazi, and possibly from the port of Tripoli).
An estimated 5,000 to 6,000 EU citizens are thought to be in Libya, 1,000 of whom are located in the Benghazi area, one of the regions at the core of evacuation plans and where the airport is not operating. The airport of Tripoli is operational, but the evacuation action is considerably hindered by the cumbersome release of landing clearance, according to the quoted source.
Other groups of European citizens are inland and along the coast. Land transport is getting increasingly risky and some citizens are stuck with no means of leaving. That is why the mechanism will attempt to identify the air transport possibilities on hand for evacuating the inland-trapped European citizens [Sebha (Sabha) region].
Romania keeps permanent contact with the other EU member states to exchange information on the European citizens in the area and the available means of transport, reads the aforementioned source.
A special airplane tasked with repatriating Romanian citizens from Libya was supposed to take off on Thursday from Bucharest heading for Tripoli and then for Malta and back for Bucharest; MAE took the necessary steps with the authorities in charge to obtain the permission for the aircraft to fly over the Libyan territory, reads a MAE Wednesday release.
The Romanian government approved on Wednesday, Feb 23, under a Government Resolution initiated by MAE, the release of 900,000 RON in funding for the repatriation operations and ensuring the assistance infrastructure for the Romanian citizens in Libya, on the background of the worsening of the situation in this country.