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23 May, 2024
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International efforts strengthen humanitarian corridor to Gaza

Officials coordinate amidst diplomatic challenges and geopolitical complexities

Yiannis Ioannou

Yiannis Ioannou

Last Thursday, officials from more than 35 countries and international organizations, including the UN and the EU, convened at the Zenon Centre in Larnaca to bolster the Amalthea humanitarian corridor. The corridor, activated by the Republic of Cyprus for the Gaza Strip, aims to facilitate the transfer of humanitarian aid amid ongoing crises.

Amidst these discussions, the official Palestinian account in Cyprus posted a tweet on platform X, expressing grievances about the situation in Gaza. The tweet accused authorities of disregarding the thousands of bodies buried under the rubble and questioned the construction of a port amidst the devastation. Despite referencing the known intention of the US to build a port in Gaza to address the region's food crisis following the Israel-Hamas war, the tweet sparked controversy with its accompanying sketch depicting a grim scene of aid being delivered amidst civilian casualties.

The discussions underscored the complex humanitarian and political landscape surrounding the Amalthea initiative. While Cyprus takes a proactive stance in establishing the maritime corridor, navigating diplomatic challenges in the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean remains imperative.

The initiative garnered praise from US President Joe Biden, who commended the efforts to activate Amalthea in a letter delivered to President Christodoulides. Despite initial challenges, including the unsuccessful attempt to reach Gaza via Malta, the successful delivery of humanitarian aid by the Spanish ship "Open Arms" filled participants with optimism regarding the relief efforts in Gaza.

Key outcomes of the consultations highlighted the potential for Amalthea to serve as a permanent maritime corridor for humanitarian aid delivery and post-conflict reconstruction in Gaza. With direct support from various state actors and international organizations, including the US's involvement in constructing a temporary port in Gaza, Amalthea's significance in addressing the region's crises is increasingly recognized.

Moving forward, the evolution of humanitarian aid delivery to Gaza will depend on various factors, including the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict and the involvement of the US government. Efforts to establish a Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore system by the US Navy in Gaza aim to enhance logistical support for humanitarian aid shipments through the Amalthea corridor.

While discussions in Larnaca focused on technical aspects and funding for Amalthea, broader geopolitical dynamics in the Middle East underscore the complexity of the situation. With tensions escalating between the Netanyahu government and other stakeholders, including the US, the need for delicate diplomacy and precautionary measures in addressing Gaza's humanitarian crisis is evident.

The ultimate success of Amalthea as a relief corridor for Gaza remains uncertain, with questions lingering about its integration into broader frameworks for humanitarian aid provision in the region.

[This article was translated from its original Greek and edited for clarity and brevity]

Cyprus  |  World  |  Gaza  |  humanitarian aid

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