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16 June, 2024
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Cyprus, Egypt, and the complicated 'Amalthea' mission

RFA Lyme Bay's journey to Gaza raises concerns

Yiannis Ioannou

Yiannis Ioannou

The arrival of the British ship ''RFA Lyme Bay'' from Malta to Port Said in Egypt with 87 tons of humanitarian aid - of which 10 are Cypriot - should be welcomed.

Cyprus indeed contributes, humanitarianly, to the troubled Gaza Strip and the Palestinian people who experience the devastating consequences of a war with a huge footprint of humanitarian disaster on the ground.

However, the way in which the issue of delivering humanitarian aid to "Gaza" - which was not done through Gaza but Egypt as most of the international humanitarian aid to the Palestinians internationally and from a British ship that did not sail from a safe port of the Republic of Cyprus for delivery but from Malta - was baptized "Amalthea" in the titles of the posts on social media and the official announcements on behalf of the government is extremely problematic.

Because it aims at political communication against the substance - for a minute issue such as the delivery of humanitarian aid in the midst of a war with what this entails for the diplomatic value that is produced, the perceptions for the Republic of Cyprus by all the involved actors and the credibility of Nicosia.

When two months ago the "Amalthea" was communicated on behalf of the government as a plan of the Republic of Cyprus for the creation of a sea corridor that with the center of Cyprus would deliver aid to the Gaza Strip - in a document of 21 pages - the bar may have risen high but the essence of such a plan - which was previously linked to the so-called "Gaza Relief" (relief of Gaza, within the framework of the post-conflict development of the region) would be based on the creation of a node with the center of Cyprus for the collection and shipment - by sea - of aid to Gaza.

Here is also based the flag projection of the Republic of Cyprus and one, ideally, of increased importance active diplomatic role in the part of humanitarian aid - given that Larnaca or Limassol are close to the area and Cyprus the easternmost member state of the EU in the MENA region. Difficult venture that however summarizes whether you can claim - and succeed - an active role by upgrading your position in the region.

Two months however we saw a series of PR exercises with the background of "Amalthea" with the climax of the delivery of the "RFA Lyme Bay" - at least with an announcement that while playing high the "Amalthea" in its content explained at least what is the plan and ... why the Republic of Cyprus cannot fully control its implementation despite its "activation".

At the time when more than 15 countries internationally have through Egypt and Israel - by road, by sea and by air - delivered significant quantities of food, medical supplies and first aid items to Gaza.

The Republic of Cyprus must move, at the level of foreign policy, with paradox and implementation of policy (policy making & implementation) with more substance than communication, more silently and more effectively.

Especially with regard to the dimension of humanitarian diplomacy such as the delivery of valuable aid to troubled, war-torn, geographical territories in the wider subsystem to which it belongs. And to do it with seriousness, without exaggerating the bar or aiming at the internal political consumption.

Hopefully the "Amalthea" will take, soon, flesh and bones and at a level 2.0 will survive and for the next day in Gaza - which is extremely critical. However, the significant delivery of 10 tons of Cypriot aid through Malta to Port Said is not exactly part of the project. And neither game-changer.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus. government  |  Malta  |  port  |  Gaza  |  Nicosia  |  Egypt  |  shipping

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