Last updated on
Today, 15 October, a Belgian military plane (A400M) landed from Tel Aviv at Melsbroek military airport with 105 people on board. These were 92 Belgians and entitled persons who had registered on Travellers Online as well as 13 other EU citizens through the European Solidarity Mechanism.
Aware of the difficulties some may face in leaving the region despite the possibility of leaving on commercial flights, the government decided to supplement the existing offer with a special flight, operated by Defence, to help stranded Belgian travellers who have registered on Travellers Online - the online platform of the FPS Foreign Affairs - to return to Belgium.
Foreign Affairs particularly thanks Defence for the excellent cooperation, as well as other partners for their indispensable commitment, in order to carry out this special flight allowing stranded compatriots to safely return to Belgium.
Besides the 92 Belgians and entitled persons, 13 EU citizens (from France, Romania and Luxemburg) were also assisted through the European Solidarity Mechanism. In fact, Belgium was the first member state to activate the European solidarity mechanism.
Foreign Affairs, through the Embassy in Tel Aviv, the Consulate General in Jerusalem and services and partners in Brussels, remains committed to informing and assisting our national citizens in the region to the best of our ability.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hadja Lahbib: "It was important for the Government to provide stranded Belgians registered on Travellers Online with an airline option to complement the commercial flights in order to facilitate their return home. Belgium was the first country to activate the European solidarity mechanism, so we were also able to bring X European citizens back on board the flight. I salute the good cooperation between Foreign Affairs and Defence in setting up and ensuring the success of this special flight, which enabled our citizens to return home in complete safety. Our services on the ground and in Belgium are continuing to monitor the situation in the region closely, and to inform and assist our compatriots as best they can. The conflict is having a major impact on the people living there. Belgium calls for respect for international humanitarian law, for the immediate release of the hostages, and for the urgent relaunch of a process that can finally lead to a just and lasting peace."
Defence, as always, stands ready to assist Foreign Affairs if needed.
Minister of Defence, Ludivine Dedonder: "Defence has demonstrated once again that it is ready to take action and to bring citizens to safety if necessary. Less than 24 hours after the government's request to send an aircraft, a Defence A400M was already ready in Cyprus to pick up the Belgians, beneficiaries and other Europeans at Tel Aviv airport. I would like to express my gratitude to the Defence personnel for their rapid reaction and availability in carrying out this operation. Thanks to the good cooperation between Defence and Foreign Affairs, we can speak of a successful mission. Of course, Defence remains available to the Government for other missions.
This link to find some photos that may be used if mentioning the copyright "Defence". In case media wish to obtain other, photos of the evacuation, and in higher quality, please contact your interest at email@example.com
- News Type