EU to help refugees arriving in Cyprus

As Cyprus braced itself for an influx of up to 10,000 more evacuees from war-torn Lebanon yesterday, the European Commission pledged to send a delegation to the island to coordinate the care and transport of the multinational refugees. «We have received about 20,000 to 25,000 people up until now, and are expecting that number to triple. That is why we need assistance from Europe,» Cypriot Foreign Minister George Lillikas said. Meanwhile Greece’s Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis described the escalating conflict in the Middle East as «the height of madness.» «Every day of hostilities that goes by simply consolidates the vicious circle of violence and bolsters those who seek instability and tension in the region,» Bakoyannis told yesterday’s Eleftherotypia. She called for a «ceasefire now» and said that Greece «is ready to play an active role in rebuilding (Lebanon).» But opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, in an interview with the same newspaper yesterday, condemned the government for «limiting itself to the role of observer… which is not permissible, as (the developments) affect Greece and Greeks directly.» He also criticized the international reaction to the crisis as «lukewarm.» Meanwhile, Archbishop Christodoulos issued a written statement condemning Israeli tactics in the Middle East «as exceeding any rational limits» and called on Israel to «fear God’s wrath.» «Do not feed the world’s condemnation of you, it is not in your interest,» he said.