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25 June, 2024
 
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Cyprus awaits US approval for Gaza aid departure amidst Amalthea initiative

President Christodoulides coordinates with US, UAE, and EU for aid mission to Gaza

Newsroom / CNA

We are ready to go ahead as soon as we receive the green light from the United States, President Nikos Christodoulides said on Tuesday, referring to the next departure of a vessel loaded with humanitarian aid from Larnaca to Gaza in the context of the Cypriot initiative "Amalthea".

President Christodoulides was replying to journalists' questions on the sidelines of a visit to a military camp on the occasion of Easter.

He said that the US are expected to complete a floating dock on May 2nd and that he would discuss the matter with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Layen.

We have been doing all the preparatory work, he noted, in particular in coordination with the US, the United Arab Emirates and the EU in order to resume sending humanitarian aid.

Referring to a visit he will pay Lebanon together with von der Layen, he expressed satisfaction for her response, adding that he had put forward the matter of Lebanon during the first European Council in which he participated after having assumed his duties as President a year ago.

Asked when the next vessel is expected to depart for Gaza, he replied that according to the information he has received from the US the dock is set to be completed on May 2.

We have been doing all the preparatory work, he noted, in particular in coordination with the US, the United Arab Emirates and the EU in order to resume sending humanitarian aid to that specific point.

The British Prime Minister asked him to discuss the matter, the President said, adding that they would have a telephone conversation this afternoon.

Tomorrow, he continued, the matter will also be part of discussions during a meeting he will have with the European Commission President who will be in Cyprus.

"We are ready to go ahead as soon as we receive the green light on the part of the US," he stressed.

Replying to a question about his visit to Lebanon on May 2 together with von der Leyen and whether there would be an announcement of a support package for the country, President Christodoulides said that that any announcements, about which he has been briefed, would be made by the President of the European Commission herself.

He recalled that during the first European Council he took part in as President he had put forward the matter of Lebanon.

I am glad there has been this response on the part of the Commission's President, he added.

"We will go to Lebanon together on Thursday and she will make the announcements herself as is appropriate," he pointed out.

The President also replied to questions about criticism he is getting about the way the Education Ministry will mark the 50-year anniversary since the 1974 coup d’etat and the Turkish invasion that followed. "It is very sad that anyone would believe that we do not condemn the coup," he said.

In such moments if we truly want to show which is our common goal, to send society a positive message "we should make the most of these black moments in our country's history to see how we can move forward united," he said, adding at the same time that he condemns the treacherous coup, a position he has always had.

He further said he is seeking the cooperation of all political parties "because the people expect from us to cooperate to deal with the challenges."

On my part, he added, I will not engage in any daily confrontation or criticism. "We live in a democratic country, everyone is free if they consider it the appropriate tactic to criticise," he concluded.

The Greek military junta, then ruling Greece, and its Greek Cypriot collaborators- EOKA-B', toppled the democratically elected President of Cyprus, the late Archbishop Makarios III on July 15, 1974. On July 20, 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus and subsequently occupied its northern third. The island continues to be divided until today.

Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appointed María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar of Colombia as his personal envoy for Cyprus, to assume a Good Offices role on his behalf and search for common ground on the way forward in the Cyprus issue.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Amalthea  |  Gaza

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