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Cyprus joins EU partners in call for Gaza ceasefire

Twenty-six member states of the European Union (EU) – including Cyprus – have called for an “immediate humanitarian pause that would lead to a sustainable ceasefire” in the besieged Gaza Strip, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in Brussels last night.

At a meeting of EU foreign ministers, all EU countries except Hungary warned Israel against launching an assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, which they said would deepen the catastrophe of some 1.5 million refugees crammed into the city.

Israel’s reported plans for an assault on the city have sounded international alarm bells, with many countries urging restraint or cancelation of the operation.

Last week, the Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al Maliki’s working visit to Cyprus was dominated by the situation in Gaza.

At the talks, Cypriot foreign minister, Constantinos Kombos, said that the situation in Gaza was not only worsening, but a transformative series of events is unfolding that has regional and international implications.

In an earlier meeting in Nicosia, the possibility of establishing a maritime humanitarian corridor from Cyprus to Gaza was the focus of Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri’s talks with Kombos.

“As humanitarian needs escalate so does the need to act,” Kombos said.

If it ever happens, the planned corridor will probably run from Larnaca to Gaza. Humanitarian supplies will be collected, inspected and stored in Cyprus before being shipped to Gaza.

Famagusta Gazette