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15 June, 2024
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Cyprus advances humanitarian corridor to Gaza

Minister Kombos outlines secure initiative as Cyprus demonstrates regional leadership in aid efforts

Ioanna Kyriakou

The Republic of Cyprus remains committed to establishing a maritime humanitarian corridor for delivering aid to Gaza, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Constantinos Kombos. In a media briefing today, Kombos outlined two critical elements of the initiative: a unidirectional flow starting in the Republic of Cyprus, exclusively involving goods, and the requirement for Israel's approval to ensure cargo security.

Emphasizing the corridor's secure nature, Kombos highlighted guaranteed departure, high flow, and dense frequency. The initiative positions Cyprus as an active regional contributor, leveraging geographical proximity, a robust infrastructure network, amicable relations with neighboring countries, and a trusted political alliance with Israel.

Ongoing communication with Israel includes a recent visit by a technical team for consultations, with plans for a structured dialogue featuring interdepartmental working groups. Kombos expressed a commitment to an active, methodical, and outward-looking approach to address uncertainties in the project.

The humanitarian corridor, envisioned in five stages, covers immediate, medium, and long-term solutions. These stages include transporting and collecting aid in Cyprus, inspection and registration, loading and inspection on ships, secure sea corridor transit, and unloading and distribution in Gaza. Cyprus's proximity, a mere 210 nautical miles from Gaza, adds strategic value to the initiative.

Technical committees are actively discussing the compilation of material aid lists, favoring essentials, and exploring shipping options, including commercial and potentially military vessels. The goal is to develop a plan aligned with the preferences of Israel and other stakeholders.

As Nicosia awaits results, they underscore the outcome's uncertainty, citing factors such as the war's evolution, Israel's security, and international pressure. Alternative proposals from member states are seen as complementary rather than competitive.

Addressing migration concerns, Cyprus clarifies its focus on assisting with hospital care and evacuating those in need of medical aid. The Republic stands prepared, under the Hestia project, to facilitate evacuations of over 100,000 third-country nationals through the island, with support from more than 30 countries.

President Nicos Christodoulides highlights ongoing engagements with Israel, the UN, and EU partners, stressing the initiative's recognition and the importance of technical discussions. He cautions against setting timetables, emphasizing the significance of practical actions demonstrating Cyprus as a pillar of stability and security in the region.

Cyprus  |  aid  |  humanitarian  |  corridor  |  Gaza  |  Israel

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