Cyprus and Lebanon stand by each other in fighting forest fires, officials of the two countries said during a ceremony held on Thursday.
Cypriot authorities organised the ceremony at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center to thank Lebanon for providing assistance with aircraft as firefighters battled a blaze raging in the foothills of Limassol last week.
Organised by the defence ministry, the event was attended by the Cypriot ministers of defence, justice and agriculture.
In his remarks, Defence Minister Michalis Giorgallas said that “through difficult moments and operations, Cyprus’ relationships with its neighbours are strengthened. This was also the case with the fire in Limassol, and the response of the Lebanese government to assist the Republic of Cyprus further enhanced the relationship between our countries.”
He added that “in the same way, whenever Lebanon needs it, Cyprus will stand by Lebanon and its people.”
For his part, Agriculture Minister Petros Xenofontos stated that “the presence of friends from Lebanon was certainly very significant, as it reinforced the aerial means in combating the recent fire. We thank them and wish them a safe journey back to their country.”
Justice Minister Anna Koukkides-Procopiou noted that “we are here to thank the crews from Lebanon, the team of pilots and technicians. I believe that it is very important to strengthen the bonds of friendship with our neighbours, and this ceremony demonstrates both the usefulness of good neighbourly relations and helps us deepen and expand them even further.”
Queen Maryl Salame Ghayadi, attache of the Lebanese embassy in Nicosia, referred to the ongoing co-operation between Cyprus and Lebanon, and said that now the two nations work together in fire- fighting.
“I am very proud of the Lebanese army who did this mission over here,” she said.
“Lebanon is always next to Cyprus as Cyprus is always next to Lebanon.”