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23 July, 2024
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Cyprus leads push for Gaza humanitarian corridor

Foreign Minister champions Gaza aid corridor in Jordan and Ramallah

Yiannis Ioannou

Yiannis Ioannou

Nicosia is actively pursuing the creation of a humanitarian corridor to provide much-needed aid to Gaza amid the ongoing Israeli-Hamas conflict and the Israeli Defense Forces' ground operations in the Palestinian enclave.

Foreign Affairs Minister Fr. Kobos recently held meetings with his counterparts in Jordan and the Palestinian Territories (Ramallah), seeking international support for this initiative.

This effort, in close coordination with Greece and France, aims to establish a safe sea route and a Cypriot port for delivering relief to Gaza. The success of this endeavor hinges on securing a ground ceasefire.

President Christodoulides has emphasized international recognition and support for this initiative, with the hope of using Cyprus' ports to send humanitarian aid to Gaza in the near future.

The Humanitarian Challenge

Creating a humanitarian corridor from the Republic of Cyprus to Gaza is a complex endeavor, especially given the ongoing military operations and the involvement of the European Union.

Gaza's main connections to the outside world are through Egypt and the Rafah border crossing, as well as its Mediterranean coast.

Nicosia, alongside Athens and Paris, seeks an active role in this humanitarian project due to its proximity and European status. The relief of Gaza has far-reaching implications for the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, and the EU.

Nicosia's approach involves cooperation with key stakeholders, including Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Israel, Greece, and France. Their goal is de-escalation in the region.

In the Gaza Strip, the strategic Rafah border crossing with Egypt stands prominently on the map. Besides the operational Erez crossing, there have been occasional proposals for new entry points into Israeli territory to facilitate humanitarian relief efforts in the area. However, the challenge lies in the fate of a significant wave of refugees, influenced by the positions of Egypt and Jordan, the ongoing IDF penetration spanning over a 6km area, and the duration of military operations.

A Historical Perspective

Nicosia's proposal for a humanitarian corridor to Gaza by sea during times of crisis is not entirely new. This approach has been adopted by various countries in the past, especially within the framework of the European Union's diplomatic efforts for Middle East peace.

The current situation in Gaza presents opportunities for Cyprus to play an active diplomatic role, although it involves delicate balancing due to the complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict and competition among the directly involved countries.

In summary, if this initiative succeeds, it will mark a significant phase that requires meticulous preparation, political assurance, and security measures at multiple levels to ensure the safe delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza through a Cyprus port.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  Gaza. war  |  minister

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