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21 July, 2024
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Cyprus considers UN-Led humanitarian aid channel to Gaza

UN peacekeeping chief meets Cyprus president

Newsroom / CNA

The possibility of humanitarian aid going directly from Cyprus to Gaza and being received by UN personnel is currently under consideration, Government Spokesperson Konstantinos Letymbiotis said on Wednesday, following the meeting between UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, and President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides, at the Presidential Palace.

The Government Spokesperson said that President Christodoulides outlined to the UN official the initiative undertaken by the Republic of Cyprus to create a maritime humanitarian corridor from Cyprus to Gaza for the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid. He added that this is an initiative that Lacroix himself welcomes, but that the "United Nations fully supports and will assist in any way possible to enable food and essentials to be received in Gaza."

Asked if there was any news in relation to the President's contacts on Gaza, Letymbiotis said that last night President Christodoulides had a long telephone conversation with the Prime Minister of Israel, who is positive about this initiative.

He also said that an effort is currently underway to develop this initiative on a technical level as well, noting that it is very positive that European institutions and the United Nations are also positive about this initiative. He added that the possibility of humanitarian aid going directly from Cyprus to Gaza and being received by UN personnel is currently under consideration.

He also noted that Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos is travelling to Germany today where he will also raise the issue of the humanitarian corridor, adding that "we are making it a priority to make the creation of this maritime humanitarian corridor possible at the soonest."

Asked whether President Christodoulides spoke yesterday evening with President of France, the Spokesperson said that this was not possible yesterday, but a telephone conversation will take place in the coming period.

Letymbiotis described the meeting between President Christodoulides and Jean-Pierre Lacroix as "very constructive", saying that the President had the opportunity to discuss with the UN Under-Secretary-General the efforts made by the Greek Cypriot side to resume the Cyprus negotiations from where they were interrupted.

The Government Spokesperson said that President Christodoulides conveyed the strong belief that the appointment of an envoy by the UN Secretary General would be of high added value, noting that the Greek Cypriot side has responded positively to the appointment in the first 24 hours of being consulted.

"It is our belief that as soon as the other side responds, the envoy will be able to explore the prospect of resuming negotiations," he noted.

Asked whether Lacroix had provided any information regarding the outcome of the Secretary General's effort to appoint an envoy and whether there was ultimately a positive or negative response from the Turkish side, Letymbiotis said that Lacroix had conveyed that "the UN Secretary-General remained committed to the appointment of an envoy and that he was in constant contact with the Turkish side."

Asked to comment on information that has come to light that the Turkish side has responded negatively, Letymbiotis reiterated that the Secretary General is in contact with the Turkish side, saying that so far there has been no further update.

The Spokesperson said that as far as reaching an understanding on Pyla is concerned, Lacroix expressed his satisfaction with the attitude shown by the Republic of Cyprus and the President of the Republic himself in a very important understanding.

He added that the President of the Republic "has once again expressed his sincere political will to fulfil the provisions of the agreement," adding that these provisions will be to the benefit of both communities.

In August 2023, the Turkish Cypriot side unilaterally announced its intention to build the road through the buffer zone between the villages of Pyla and occupied Arsos. Turkish Cypriots and settlers entered the buffer zone and attacked personnel and vehicles of UNFICYP. A peacekeeper was punched in the face.

The international community, including five permanent members of the UN Security Council, condemned the attack. Later on, discussions began aiming at resolving the issue.

According to an understanding that has been reached for Pyla, a single urban development area will be created, which will ensure the harmonious coexistence of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in the area of Pyla and, will include, among other things, a large area of residential development, the paving of a road leading towards Troulloi village, the creation of photovoltaic parks and the expansion of the urban use area of the village.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. 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.

Cyprus  |  UN  |  president  |  Gaza

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