The Outer

Cyprus and UK send first cargo of humanitarian aid to Gaza

By Manal Abdel Fattah

The Republic of Cyprus and the United Kingdom sent on Tuesday the first cargo of humanitarian aid to the civilian population of Gaza that includes 10 tonnes of pharmaceuticals contributed by the Republic of Cyprus.

According to a press release by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the humanitarian aid of 90 tonnes arrived in Port Said and is transferred, in coordination with the Egyptian Red Crescent, to a crossing point in Rafah.

“It is announced that today the Republic of Cyprus and the United Kingdom, in the framework of an excellent cooperation have dispatched the first cargo, almost 90 tonnes, that was carried by a suitable UK maritime means that could accommodate any delivery option that was evaluated according to the conditions on the ground. The cargo also includes 10 tonnes of pharmaceuticals contributed by the Republic of Cyprus”, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says.

It adds that the humanitarian aid has arrived in Port Said, Egypt and is transferred, in coordination with the Egyptian Red Crescent, to the pre-arranged crossing point of Rafah, based on the procedures.

Furthermore, it says that the process of receiving and distributing humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip involves the relevant agencies under existing arrangements, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Present at the arrival of the humanitarian aid cargo in Port Said were the Chargé d’Affaires and staff of the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Cairo.

The Foreign Ministry says that the Republic of Cyprus that is a state in the region has responded to the moral obligation to assist in addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and has worked to create an additional option for the international community with different implementation possibilities, depending on the conditions.

It explains that the initiative for a one-way maritime corridor for the delivery of humanitarian aid to the civilian population in Gaza has had from the beginning specific parameters. The first one was the creation of an operational mechanism for the safe receipt, storage and loading of significant quantities of humanitarian aid, in a way that meets the increased security needs of parties involved and secondly, ensuring the cooperation with states that have the maritime means that could transport the aid depending on the choice of the delivery point (Gaza, Egypt, Israel) and the timing depending on the conditions on the ground.

Both parameters were implemented and met with the public acceptance of Israel and the practical assistance of the United Kingdom, the FM says, adding that both elements “are not negligible and we continue to consult with other parties necessarily involved, including the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations”.

In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says, the aspect of the implementation of the “Amalthea” Plan that includes the option for immediate delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza now exists.

“The use of this possibility that did not exist but was created, can be realized when the international community chooses to activate it. The Republic of Cyprus did not promise at the start that it can control all aspects but on the contrary, it works to the best of its ability to contribute to addressing the rapidly deteriorating situation”.

It is also noted that the Republic of Cyprus, through its multifaceted contribution, strengthens its role in the region, adding that already a significant financial contribution for 2023, which is much higher compared to other years, amounting to 1.1 million euro has been given by the Cypriot side through UNRWA, the World Food Organization (WFP), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as well as the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Red Crescent.

It notes that the development of the “Amalthea” Plan has been initiated and is being promoted with the participation of the parties involved and that the efforts will continue by adapting to the developments on the ground.

The FM says that the process includes consultations with the parties directly involved and interested partners, with the aim of the optimal implementation of the operational aspects of the initiative that include immediate, mid-term and long-term planning as well as delivery options.

The requirement of the safe departure point, which is Larnaca and which has the necessary critical infrastructure, has been secured, tested, implemented and approved, it stresses.

Concluding, the Ministry notes that the effort will continue respecting the “sensitive nature of the issue and the need of responsible information in a way that will not undermine the effort.”

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