AP

Cyprus drills hone skills on evacuations from conflict zones

May 19, 2022, 5:57 PM | Updated: May 20, 2022, 5:59 am

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Seven countries including the U.S., France, Italy, Israel and Greece have taken part in an series of drills in and around Cyprus designed to ease civilian evacuations from conflict zones and to conduct offshore rescue operations, amid a renewed sense of urgency due to the war in Ukraine.

For the first time, Egypt took part in the Friday leg of the annual drill with its own military forces, while Saudi Arabia sent a delegation of observers to “Argonaut 2022,” which Cyprus has billed as as one of the most important civilian evacuation drills in the world.

Cypriot Defense Minister Charalambos Petrides told foreign officials that participating nations took part in the planning of the mass evacuation of civilians fleeing a crisis in a neighboring country.

“Cyprus is located in an area of perpetual turmoil and instability and there is always the possibility of a conflict or a crisis,” Petrides said.

“Hence we have to remain vigilant, able and ready to facilitate our friends and allies for dealing with crisis situations and provide safe haven for those affected.”

An additional 15 countries sent delegations to observe coordination efforts by Cypriot authorities and foreign embassies to facilitate the potential arrival of foreign nationals at Cyprus’ main port of Limassol..

The exercise culminated in a search and rescue operation with vessels and aircraft simulating what Cypriot officials described as a “serious maritime accident” off the East Mediterranean island nation’s southern coast.

First held 15 years ago, the exercise took place this year after a two-year hiatus because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Cyprus briefly hosted over 35,000 foreign nationals fleeing Lebanon in 2006 when Israel launched a ground invasion of its neighbor’s southern territory in pursuit of Hezbollah forces.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks at a news conference following the NATO Summit in Washington, Thu...

Zeke Miller, Seung Min Kim, Lisa Mascaro and Colleen Long, The Associated Press

Biden says during news conference he’s going to ‘complete the job’ despite calls to bow out

Biden used his highly anticipated news conference to deliver a defense of his policies and batted away questions about his ability to serve.

2 days ago

Photo: Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani talks to reporters as he leaves the federal courthouse i...

Associated Press

Judge says Rudy Giuliani bankruptcy case likely to be dismissed. But his debts aren’t going away

A judge said he was leaning toward throwing out Rudy Giuliani's bankruptcy case. A dismissal would end his pursuit of bankruptcy protection.

3 days ago

biden democrats...

Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press

Biden tells Hill Democrats he ‘declines’ to step aside and says it’s time for party drama ‘to end’

President Joe Biden stood firm against calls for him to drop his candidacy and called for an "end" to the intraparty drama.

5 days ago

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Actor Martin Mull attends FOX Hosts "The Cool Kids" Outdoor Scree...

ANDREW DALTON, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Comedic actor Martin Mull, star of ‘Roseanne,’ ‘Arrested Development,’ dies at 80

Martin Mull, whose droll, esoteric comedy and acting made him a hip sensation in the 1970s and a frequent guest star of sitcoms, has died.

14 days ago

In this photo provided by NASA, Boeing Crew Flight Test astronauts Butch Wilmore, left, and Suni Wi...

By ADITHI RAMAKRISHNAN, AP Science Writer

Astronauts will stay at the space station longer for more troubleshooting of Boeing capsule

Two NASA astronauts will stay longer at the International Space Station as engineers troubleshoot problems on Boeing’s new space capsule.

15 days ago

moore redmond washington...

Associated Press

U.S. Supreme Court rules against Redmond couple challenging foreign income tax

The court ruled in the case of Charles and Kathleen Moore, of Redmond, Washington after they previously challenged a $15,000 tax bill.

23 days ago

Cyprus drills hone skills on evacuations from conflict zones