Greece has been praised by the USA and Chinese governments for the nation’s role in evacuating thousands of foreign nationals from Libya, where unrest continues as pro-democracy protesters clash with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi supporters.

Following talks with Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, US assistant secretary for Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Philip Gordon, said Greece had helped a lot, according to Kathimerini. Gordon noted that, as well as the Hellenic Navy dispatching frigates to patrol waters off the coast of Libya, Greece had also played a major role on a humanitarian level, dispatching ferries to evacuate foreign nationals from Libya, including citizens of European countries, thousands of Chinese and smaller numbers of Brazilians and Filipinos.

Prime Minister George Papandreou has also received a letter of gratitude from Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao for the assistance Greece offered in the evacuation of Chinese nationals from Libya and their accommodation on the island of Crete, Athens News reports. The Chinese premier cited the “deep and sincere appreciation of the Chinese people” towards the Greek government, stressing “the spirit of mutual assistance demonstrated by the Greek people in times of crisis”. He wrote of the “friendly feelings towards the Chinese people and the spirit of mutual assistance demonstrated (by the Greek people) during particularly difficult times”. On Wednesday, another Greek passenger ferry docked at the Cretan port of Iraklio with over 2,000 Chinese evacuees from Libya.

Another Greek vessel, the Ionian Queen, arrived at the same port later in the day with over 650 Filipino nationals on board. Crete’s regional governor, Athanassios Karountzos, and the Philippine Ambassador to Syria, Wilfredo Cuyugan, met in Iraklio this week to discuss the repatriation of the Filipinos as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Greece has welcomed the UN Security Council decision to impose sanctions against the Libyan authorities, placing a ban on the sale of military supplies to Libya, a freeze on the assets of the Gaddafi regime, and prohibition of Ghaddafi, his family and the regime from travelling abroad. Foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas reiterated Greece’s absolute condemnation of the actions of the regime in Libya, as expressed by Prime Minister George Papandreou in Berlin, and called on the Libyan regime to immediately halt the use of violence.

Greece, he said, also expresses its support to the people of Libya and, in cooperation with its EU partners, will continue to work towards facing the situation. Droutsas further stressed that Europe has an obligation to continue taking decisive measures aimed at ending the violence. The UN Security Council Resolution also referred the Libya situation to the International Criminal Court where an investigation has opened into the alleged crimes committed in Libya since 15 February 2011.

Source: Kathimerini, Athens News, ANA