Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Tepaeru Herrmann. 23101352
The remaining Cook Islands residents who were stranded in Jerusalem have made it out of Israel as the Israel-Hamas war rages on.
Head of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration,
Tepaeru Herrmann yesterday told Cook Islands News: “All 28 Cook Islanders and
Cook Islands residents (including Fijian passport holders) are no longer in
Israel having exited via Tel Aviv and entered Abu Dhabi to await connecting
“Some continue their onwards travel to Rarotonga via
Abu Dhabi, others Dubai.”
MFAI is continuing to work through diplomatic channels
to support the return to Rarotonga of all 28 residents although with all 28
having exited Tel Aviv, “our efforts have been paired back”.
“Those efforts were undertaken in close collaboration with the prior mentioned governments as well as the governments of Fiji and the United Arab Emirates including the Emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.”
There were reports that Fijian passport holders had
some issues getting into Dubai due to visa requirement.
Herrmann said: “The Fiji Government, through their
mission in Abu Dhabi has engaged directly with Fiji passport holders in the
group to support entry visas into Abu Dhabi and onwards travel to Rarotonga.”
“Onwards return travel beyond Abu Dhabi to Rarotonga
varies within the group of 28. As far as we’re aware, most reconnect with their
prior travel plans via Dubai/Auckland or Abu Dhabi/Asia.
“We understand most will likely arrive back into
Rarotonga over the next couple of days.”
Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration said it had secured
seats on a New Zealand Government assisted Etihad Airways flight to bring home
the remaining Cook Islands residents. The NZ government secured 90 seats on the
first flight to assist New Zealand and Pacific people to leave Israel.
earlier said they were working closely with its mission in Wellington, and the
New Zealand Government via missions in Rarotonga and Ankarra and governments of
Israel, Korea and Australia to ensure the early and safe return of the
residents were part of the 48-member team that visited Jerusalem to observe the
Feast of the Tabernacle when Palestinian terror group Hamas launched a
large-scale deadly attack on Saturday, October 7. A group of 20 Cook Islanders
managed to fly out of Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport earlier last week and have