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Greece to airlift water to Tripoli: foreign ministry
by Staff Writers
Athens (AFP) Sept 5, 2011

Greece will airlift 48,000 bottles of water to Tripoli where thousands of inhabitants are facing serious shortages, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

The ministry said that deputy foreign minister Dimitris Dollis and a delegation of ministry staff would accompany the mission that departs on Tuesday on board two C-130 military transport planes.

Many of Tripoli's two million inhabitants have suffered water shortages since the capital was captured by anti-Kadhafi forces last month.

On Sunday, Libya's new leadership said it had control of much of the Great Man-Made River that brings water from desert aquifers to the coastal cities.

Prime Minister George Papandreou last week proposed a steady airlift of Greek water to Libya at an international conference on the conflict in Paris.

"We are in a position to transport up to 175,000 cubic metres of water every ten days, a supply which is expected to increase Tripoli's drinkable water reserves by 50 percent," he told reporters at the time.

The ex-rebels, who have taken control of Tripoli and most of Libya, are readying for battle in Moamer Kadhafi's last strongholds of Bani Walid and Sirte.

Greece, which last month recognised the National Transitional Council as the legitimate government of Libya, is traditionally close to the Arab world and its government had kept channels of communication open to both sides during the six-month conflict.

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