“From the beginning, we have been in permanent contact with the Israeli and Egyptian authorities and what we have is the possibility of temporarily hosting them, for two or three days, in Egypt and bringing them to Portugal. I would not like to dramatise with this type of terminology, a rescue operation is simply the removal of Portuguese people from Egypt, from the moment they can leave Gaza”, said the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Speaking to Portuguese journalists, João Gomes Cravinho pointed out that “the Portuguese and their families who are currently in Gaza will leave in the same way that other foreigners have left over these last two weeks.”
“Right now, we are working with 16. There are six Portuguese people and 10 close family members. And then there is a wider group of Palestinians who have family connections to Portugal”, he explained. In previous statements in the Portuguese parliament, the government official had indicated that there are six citizens with Portuguese passports and, of these, five are minors.
Asked about the withdrawal process, João Gomes Cravinho explained: “Our embassy has already studied and planned this from the moment they enter Egypt. Our embassy […] will assume this responsibility and we will try to bring them to Portugal, in principle by commercial means, because it is a relatively small number”.
According to the government official, these citizens “are not abandoned”.
“We are constantly, every day and several times a day, in contact with Israeli and Egyptian authorities to look for the best way to ensure their exit”, he added.