The European Commission has welcomed the idea proposed by Cyprus for the creation of a maritime corridor for humanitarian aid to Gaza, and the issue is expected to be part of the discussions in the upcoming Paris conference on Gaza, a spokesperson of the Commission has told the Cyprus News Agency.
The Commission’s chief spokesperson Eric Mamer was responding to questions during Tuesday’s regular briefing to the press.
Mamer recalled that Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen welcomed the initiative in a speech on Monday.
The President “welcomes the initiative, as you saw, from Cyprus” Mamer said. “As I said yesterday, the President will tomorrow be in Paris for the international conference organised by the President of the French Republic, that will discuss the issue of how to provide practically humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza,” he added.
“So I’m sure that this is something that will come up in that context” Mamer noted. He stressed however that they don’t have have further information for the moment on this idea”, and added that they will update the press when more is known.
Meanwhile, diplomatic sources have noted that the implementation of the idea is difficult since there first needs to be coordination with Israel, as well as that there are also discussions for the transfer of humanitarian aid by air and sea from Cyprus to Egypt and Israel, which can then be transferred to Gaza.
The same sources noted that more specific discussions on the possibility of a maritime corridor are expected on Thursday, during the Paris summit.
During Tuesday’s press briefing, Commission spokesperson on humanitarian assistance Balazs Ujvari also said that the European Union has already sent the first eight flights of humanitarian aid to Gaza, and that the last left Belgium earlier the same morning.
So far, the EU has sent about 400 tonnes of aid such as shelters, food and water, as well as hygiene products, while more flights are being planned.
Ujvari explained that humanitarian aid is first sent to Egypt, where it is handed over to the Red Crescent, and when conditions allow it, it is then sent to the Gaza Strip.
The spokesperson underlined the importance of humanitarian access, noting that there has been “some improvement on the ground”, but adding that “we cannot stop stressing the importance of broadening humanitarian access and ensuring full compliance with international humanitarian law”.
He underlined that “any restrictions in quantity and types of items are not consistent with international humanitarian law”.