New Zealand PM says commercial flights best option to leave Egypt

11:09, February 02, 2011      

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The New Zealand government will send military planes or organize charter flights to get New Zealanders out of Egypt if it becomes necessary, but said commercial flights are still the best option for now.

More than 140 people have died in a week of unprecedented rallies as protesters try to force Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from office and end his 30-year rule.

A massive demonstration is to be held in Cairo on Tuesday as protesters step up efforts. Organizers have called for 1 million people to take to the streets.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key told a press conference on Tuesday that the government has block bookings with several airlines and is working with other countries to make sure New Zealanders will be able to leave if they have to.

Key said the situation is very fluid and the New Zealand government is monitoring events closely.

At this stage, he said there are no plans to send New Zealand military planes to Cairo but that could change as events unfold, though they are unlikely to get there before the weekend.

Some 299 New Zealanders are registered as being in Egypt. Key said as of Tuesday, 60 people have already left and 120 are thinking about going.

Key said that information is based on people who have registered with the embassy in Cairo and is urging anyone who has not been in contact to do as soon as they can.

Key said there been discussions with Australia, which has chartered a Qantas jet to evacuate its.

Source: Xinhua
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