Lebanon aid ship delays Gaza embargo-busting trip

A Lebanese aid ship for Gaza was postponed to await a green light from a third country as a transit point for the mission to the Israeli-blockaded Palestinian territory.

Last Updated: Aug 22, 2010, 20:48 PM IST

Tripoli: A Lebanese aid ship for Gaza was
postponed on Sunday to await a green light from a third country as
a transit point for the mission to the Israeli-blockaded
Palestinian territory.

The Mariam, a Bolivian-flagged cargo ship, was to have
left from Tripoli in north Lebanon later the same day for
Cyprus on the first leg of a crossing to Gaza despite an
Israeli warning it could use force to keep the blockade
intact.

"The trip has not been cancelled but delayed," one of the
organisers, Samar al-Hajj, told a news conference in Tripoli,
as efforts continued to secure authorisation from another
state in the region to dock before heading for Gaza.

Lebanon and Israel remain technically at war and have no
diplomatic ties or maritime links, barring the Mariam`s direct
departure from a Lebanese port for Israeli-controlled waters.

The Mariam, renamed in honour of the Virgin Mary, plans
to carry aid to Gaza in a bid to break Israel`s four-year
siege of Gaza with more than 50 Lebanese and foreign women
activists on board.

Cyprus has denied the Mariam permission to dock or use
its waters and the ship has been trying to negotiate with
Greece, Yasser Kashlak, another of the organisers, told
reporters.

PTI