Greek government says it is preventing departure of vessels from ports to avoid a 'humanitarian disaster' which would result from violent confrontation with Israeli navy.
Eight ships in the Gaza-bound flotilla were barred from leaving the Greek ports where they are anchored in the wake of an order issued on Friday by the Greek government. Flotilla participants and members of the leftist opposition in Greece have accused the Socialist government of caving in to Israeli pressure - a claim rejected by Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis.
The Greek government is preventing the departure of the vessels in order to avoid a "humanitarian disaster" which will result from a violent confrontation with the Israeli navy, Lambrinidis told Veronique De Keyser, a Belgian member of the European Parliament. The information was received by a member of the Belgian delegation on the vessel Tahrir, in an email from De Keyser, who is also vice chairman of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats.
The foreign minister also promised De Keyser that he will continue to negotiate with the UN in order to find a solution to the flotilla crisis.
The ban applies to all Greek and foreign vessels in Greek ports heading to Gaza.
Source and full story: Amira Haas, Haaretz, 3 July 2011