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23 May, 2024
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35 countries join hands for 'Amalthea' plan

Foreign Minister leads global coalition to enhance humanitarian aid to Gaza through Cyprus corridor

Yiannis Ioannou

Yiannis Ioannou

Following the successful delivery of humanitarian aid by the NGO "World Central Kitchen" through Cyprus, and the activation of the humanitarian corridor "Amalthea" by sea in Cyprus, multiple actors, including representatives from 35 states, international organizations (UN, EU, USAID, World Health Organization), the NGO World Central Kitchen, and the British company Fogbow, gathered to bolster the humanitarian relief effort in the Gaza Strip. This region faces threats not only from war but also from food insecurity.

With over 100 representatives from these entities present at the "Zenon" coordination center in Larnaca, discussions centered around sustainability and capacity building for humanitarian assistance in the region through Cyprus.

It's worth noting that US President Joe Biden commended the initiative of the Republic of Cyprus. In a letter of appreciation delivered to President Christodoulides through Curtis Reed, the Chief of Staff of the US National Security Council (NSC), who was in Cyprus, Biden praised President Christodoulides.Satellite image by Maxar Technologies showing the point of the jetty/pier of the NGO "World Central Kitchen" where the Spanish ship "Open Arms" delivered the humanitarian aid

Key Requests

Two key aspects emerged from the Larnaca meeting regarding Amalthea, as highlighted in statements by the DR Foreign Minister, Constantinos Kombou:

1. Enhancing Amalthea's capacities for the flow and safe delivery of aid to Gaza. This development encompasses both organizational and technical dimensions, including watercraft and facilities in Gaza.
2. Financial support for the initiative through the establishment of a fund. Last week's delivery of the "Open Arms" ship was supported by both the NGO "World Central Kitchen" and funding from the United Arab Emirates.

A second ship is expected to depart from Cyprus in the coming days, following the route of "Open Arms." "World Central Kitchen" has set up a makeshift jetty 100km south of Gaza City to unload aid from the sea to the shore.

The Big Picture

The question remains as to how the sea corridor through Cyprus will be sustained and supported by the international community, especially given the ongoing war in Gaza and IDF military operations in Rafah. These operations, where large numbers of Palestinians are concentrated, complicate the situation on the ground and fuel political confrontation between Washington and Tel Aviv.

"Amalthea" plays a central role in the logistical equation for relieving Gaza by sea. It remains to be seen whether, in the coming weeks, the US Navy could construct a larger dock or temporary artificial port on the southern coast of Gaza, particularly around the Netzerim area, to facilitate increased flow of humanitarian aid from Cyprus and elsewhere.

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Graph by AFP describing how the US Navy's Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore (JLOTS) system works. The latter can build an advanced, temporary, port on any coast where there is no access to mooring facilities in a time spanning from 30 days to two months

[This article was translated from its Greek original and edited for clarity and brevity]

Cyprus  |  World  |  Middle East  |  Gaza  |  humanitarian aid

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