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Cyprus: Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the dispatch of humanitarian aid to the civilian population in Gaza

The Republic of Cyprus, as a state in the region and responding to the moral obligation to assist in addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, has worked for the creation of a further option for the international community with different possibilities of implementation, depending on the circumstances.

The initiative for a one-way maritime corridor for sending humanitarian aid with final destination the civilian population in Gaza had specific parameters from the outset.

Firstly, the establishment of an operational mechanism for the safe receipt, storage and loading of significant quantities of humanitarian aid, with a methodology which meets the increased security needs of the parties involved.

Secondly, to ensure the cooperation with countries which have vessels that could transport the aid, depending on the choice of the delivery point (Gaza, Egypt, Israel), and the timing of the delivery, depending on the conditions on the ground.

Both parameters were met and have received public acceptance by Israel as well as the practical assistance of the United Kingdom (UK). Both of these elements are highly significant and we continue to consult with other parties that need to be involved, including the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations (UN).

In addition, the implementation of the Amalthea plan, which includes the option for the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza, is now in place. The use of this option, which did not exist but was created, can be materialised when the international community chooses to activate it. From the outset, the Republic of Cyprus did not promise that it could control all aspects; on the contrary, it is working to the best of its ability to help deal with the rapidly deteriorating situation.

It is announced today that the Republic of Cyprus and the United Kingdom, within the framework of an excellent cooperation and common understanding, have dispatched the first shipment of almost 90 tonnes, transported by a suitable UK vessel which could accommodate any delivery option and that was continuously assessed depending on the conditions on the ground. The shipment also includes 10 tonnes of pharmaceuticals contributed by the Republic of Cyprus.

This humanitarian aid has arrived in Port Said, Egypt, and is subsequently being transferred, in coordination with the Egyptian Red Crescent, to the designated crossing point of Rafah, in accordance with the applicable procedures. The process of receiving and distributing the aid to the Gaza Strip involves the competent parties involved on the basis of existing arrangements, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). The Chargé d’ affaires and staff of the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Cairo were present at the arrival of the humanitarian aid cargo in Port Said.

The Republic of Cyprus, through its multifaceted contribution, is strengthening its role in the region. A significant financial contribution– much higher than in other years – of €1.1 million for 2023 has already been made by Cyprus through UNRWA, the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Red Crescent.

The development of the Amalthea plan has been initiated and is being developed with the participation of the parties involved. Efforts will continue, adaptating them according to the situation on the ground. The process includes consultations with the parties directly involved and interested partners to optimally implement the operational aspects of the initiative including immediate, medium and long-term planning dimensions and delivery options. The requirement for a safe point of departure, which is Larnaka and which offers the necessary important infrastructure, has been secured, tested, implemented and approved.

Our effort will continue in a methodical manner and always with respect to the sensitive nature of the issue as well as the need for responsible information in a way which does not undermine the effort.

Famagusta Gazette