Cypriot diplomats were preparing to pull out of Cairo after Egypt's decision to sever all ties with the Mediterranean island over the bloody gun battle between Egyptian commands and Cypriot troops last weekend.
Cypriot diplomats were preparing to pull out of Cairo after Egypt's decision to sever all ties with the Mediterranean island over the bloody gun battle between Egyptian commands and Cypriot troops last weekend. And Egypt launched a diplomatic offensive on Thursday (23 February) to explain its side of the dispute to the outside world. The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Boutros Ghali, met the American and Italian ambassadors to explain why Egypt had broken off diplomatic relations with Cyprus. He was also expected to brief diplomats from other countries. The move came a day after Egypt buried the 15 commandos killed at Larnaca airport when trying to rescue hostages on a commandeered Cypriot plane. The funeral took place at the military parade ground at Nasr City on the outskirts of Cairo.
SYNOPSIS: Mr Sadat and his cabinet, general and senior officials were among thousands of people who marched in the funeral procession for the men, who were buried with full military honours.
Prime Minister Mamdouh Salem was also among the mourners. Mr Sadat told the wounded and the survivors that he was fully responsible for the operation, and he was promoting the unit's commander, Brigadier Nabil Shukri, to major-general immediately. He said he no longer recognised Mr Kyprianou as the Cypriot President and called him 'political dwarf'.
The funeral turned into an anti-Cypriot and anti-Palestinian demonstration as tens of thousands of people watching it shook their fists and demanded revenge.
The marchers were shouting slogans like "Down with Cyprus" and "No Cypriots on Egyptian soil".
Later, President Sadat conferred with his War Minister, General Muhammad Gamassi and leaders of the armed forces. Their meeting followed a ceremony at which the leaders of the commando raid were decorated for bravery.