Alexandria Greeks seeking to leave Egypt rise to 200

The list of Alexandria Greeks who wish to be evacuated from strife-torn Egypt and come to Greece has risen to 200, the head of Alexandria's Greek community Yiannis Tsokas told on Monday. He appealed to Greek authorities to respond immediately by sending planes to get people out.

Tsiokas said the Greek community in the city would undertake to get people to the airport in order to board the planes when these arrived.

In the meantime, reports said Cairo airport was bursting with thousands of foreign nationals trying to leave the country, including 10 Cypriot residents of Egypt that were waiting to board a private flight by a U.S. plane to Larnaca in Cyprus, following arrangements made by the Cyprus embassy in Cairo with U.S. diplomatic authorities.

Concern among ethnic Greeks in Cairo was less pronounced, according to the head of the Cairo Greek community Christos Kavalis. So far, only six teachers and 10 Greek residents of Cairo have officially requested to return to Greece.

The offices of the two Greek communities in Cairo and Alexandria will remain open during the hours when a curfew imposed by Egyptian authorities is not in force, ready to help with any problems that may arise for Greeks in the two cities.

In Athens, government spokesman George Petalotis noted that the government had a plan in place and was fully ready to evacuate ethnic Greeks from Egypt with complete safety. He also noted that no Greek was currently in danger.

The spokesman said that the Greek embassy and consular authorities in Egypt were constantly in contact with the sizeable Greek community in Egypt and that the operation to evacuate would take place "if all there are all the conditions for safety so that none of the lives of the Greeks that are there are placed at risk".

Earlier on Monday, Deputy Foreign Minister for overseas Greeks Dimitris Dollis announced that two C-130 military aircraft were ready and on stand-by for orders to take off from Elefsis military airbase for Alexandria. At the time he said that approximately 100 Greeks in Alexandria have asked to be evacuated from Egypt, while another 17 people were waiting at Cairo airport.

FM spokesman comments on issue of ethnic Greeks in Egypt

A Greek foreign ministry spokesman on Monday said Athens is in constant contact with the country's embassy and consulates in Egypt, adding that only some members of the ethnic Greek community in Alexandria have expressed an interest to be evacuated from the Middle East country. No such request has been made from members of the community in Cairo.

Speaking to an Athens radio station, spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras reiterated that communication with Egyptian authorities is mandatory in order to initiate any such airlift, while a secure sitution, both on the roads and airports, is also necessary in order to carry out such a mission.

Delavekouras said roughly 100 people have asked to be flown out from Alexandria.

Moreover, the Greek spokesman said he was briefed that the situation was calmer the previous evening on the streets of major Egyptian cities.

Military transport planes to depart for Alexandria on Tuesday morning

Three C-130 military transport planes are scheduled to depart from Greece for the Egyptian city of Alexandria on Tuesday morning in order to evacuate Greeks that are now in the country, the government announced on Monday evening.

The operation to repatriate members of Alexandria's sizeable Greek community is being coordinated by Deputy Foreign Minister for overseas Greeks Dimitris Dollis, who will be aboard the first plane that takes off.

The three planes are due to take off from the military air base at Elefsina at 9:00 a.m.

So far, some 200 Alexandria Greeks have officially requested to be evacuated from strife-torn Egypt.

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