Call for Restraint in Middle East Swedish Evacuation Continues

Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson has expressed  strong concern about the increasing violence in the Middle East, and in a statement calls on all sides to show restraint.

Persson says any further escalation can have serious and long-term repercussions that would make a peaceful solution for the conflict impossible for the foreseeable future.

Five planes carrying Swedes evacuated from Lebanon arrived at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport Monday night. The Swedish Foreign Ministry says busses are continuing to take Swedes from Beirut to Aleppo in Syria. Sweden has chartered three ships to aid in the evacuation from Beirut, and Swedes are also finding places on vessels from other countries.

According to plans, more than 1600 Swedes will be evacuated from Lebanon Tuesday. When the crisis began, it was estimated that around 4500 Swedish nationals were in the country.

Swedish Foreign Minister Jan Eliasson has expressed concern about around 200 Swedes trapped in southern Lebanon

Swedish police have been sent to Lebanon, Cyprus and Syria to help with evacuation. Crisis teams are meeting the evacuees when they arrive here.