Friday, 20 August 2010

Lebanon aid ship Mariam setting off for Gaza but Cyprus says it will turn it back

Hopefully this is not a false start, but organisers in Lebanon have announced that the aid ship Mariam, named after the Virgin Mary (formerly Julia ?), will be leaving for Gaza on Sunday. The ship has to sail via a third country due to the state of war that still exists between Lebanon and Israel, but the Greek Cypriot government, keen to protect its trade with Israel, is refusing permission for the vessel to dock at a Cypriot port. Protests need to be organised quickly in Cyprus to stop the government's collaboration with the Israeli attempts to stop maritime efforts to break the siege. At the press conference in Lebanon the authorities prevented the organisers from speaking to the media from the ship docked at Tripoli harbour. The ship is carrying 75 women activists, cancer medication, books and toys.
...on Thursday, the Cypriot ambassador to Lebanon told The Associated Press that the boat, the Mariam, will be turned back when it reaches Cyprus.

"We decided that such a ship will not be allowed to enter Cyprus and if such a Gaza-bound ship docks in a Cypriot port the crew and the passengers will be deported to their country of origin," Kyriacos Kouros said.
more at Haaretz