Spain opens air bridge between Libya-Tunisian frontier and Cairo

08:59, March 04, 2011      

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Spain started an air shuttle service to the Tunisia-Libya border Thursday to help repatriate at least 4,000 Egyptian citizens fleeing the violence in Libya.

The Spanish Agency of International Cooperation and Development (AECID) has programmed three daily flights over the period of a week at the request of both Tunisian and Egyptian authorities.

The flight will take off from the Spanish military airport at Torrejon de Adroz, close to Madrid, with humanitarian aid for the refugees in Tunisia, and will then take on passengers for the flight to Egypt.

Three flights will be made each day for seven days, between the Tunisian island of Djerba and Egyptian capital Cairo.

Another flight carrying three tons of humanitarian aid, the first direct aid supplied by the Spanish government, is also scheduled to take off Thursday in order to help an estimated 100,000 refugees, the majority of them Egyptians, who are waiting on both sides of the frontier between Libya and Tunisia.

The measures were made public shortly after Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero finished his visit to Tunisia. Zapatero is the first European leader to visit the country since the ouster of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali on January 14.

"We have come to say that we are at your disposal to help," said Zapatero during his visit. Zapatero also offered Tunisia a loan of 300 million euros (416 million U.S. dollars) through the European Investment Bank.

Source: Xinhua

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