Sofia Finally to Send Plane to Collect Bulgarians from Egypt

Politics » DIPLOMACY | January 31, 2011, Monday // 18:11| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: Sofia Finally to Send Plane to Collect Bulgarians from Egypt Passengers seen at Cairo airport as thousands of passengers in the terminal continue to wait for information about when they can leave, Cairo, Egypt, 31 Jan. EPA/BGNES

Bulgaria will dispatch its government plane on Tuesday to collect from Cairo those Bulgarian citizens wishing to leave Egypt, which has been torn by civil unrest in the past week.

After the crisis headquarters of the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry has been mulling actions over the situation in Egypt, on Monday Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov announced the decision to send the airbus of the government to bring home the Bulgarians stranded in Egypt.

Bulgaria has moved to collect its citizens from Egypt 2-3 days after a number of other countries have done the same. Sunday night Turkey collected 1 444 Turkish citizens from Egypt, Germany - 140 German citizens. More distant countries such as Thailand and the USA have also organized transport out of Egypt for their nationals.

Mladenov said that those wishing to come home to Bulgaria should gather at 3 pm local time on Tuesday at the Cairo International Airport.

In his words, the Bulgarian diplomats expect about 70 Bulgarians to board the plane to Sofia, out of some 200 Bulgarian citizens currently estimated to be in Egypt.

Mladenov also revealed that the Ministry has been in touch with tour operators, which have started to organize charter flights to bring back the Bulgarian tourists currently on vacation in Egyptian resorts.

According to information of private Bulgarian channel bTV, only 50 Bulgarians have expresed a desire to leave Egypt with the government plane but the chaos at the Cairo International Airport makes it likely that the Bulgarian plane might not even find where to land.

Of those 50 Bulgarians, 30 are in Cairo, 15 of them are stranded at the airport; 5 are in Alexandria, 6 are in Hurgada, and 4 are in Suez.

Bulgarian tourists in Egyptian resorts, who total about 100, said they learned about the unrest in the major cities from their relatives in Bulgaria, and that the Red Sea resorts enjoy calm and business as usual. Most of them are unwilling to leave Egypt as are some 40 000 Russian tourists.

On Sunday, in a special statement, Bulgarian Foreign Minister declared that the civil unrest in Egypt from the past week demonstrates the country needs change towards greater democracy and human rights.

On Sunday afternoon, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry issued a new warning against travel to Egypt and provided emergency telephone numbers, fax, and email addresses to its headquarters in Sofia and the Bulgarian Embassy in Cairo.

The families and relatives of the Bulgarians located in Egypt are encouraged to use them to receive or submit information to the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry. The provided contact information is as follows:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sofia, Bulgaria:

Tel.: (+359) 2 948 2404; (+359) 2 948 23 61
Fax: (+359) 2 971 36 20; (+359) 2 870 71 37
E-mail: egypt@mfa.bg

Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in Cairo, Egypt:

Tel.: +20 2 27 363 025 ; +20 2 27 366 077;
Mobile tel.: +20 12 317 05 04 ; +20 16 506 17 18
Fax: +20 2 27 363 826

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Tags: Egypt, civil unrest, Nikolay Mladenov, Foreign Minister, Bulgarians, evacuation, Cairo, Foreign Ministry
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