CNA News

Nicosia’s initiative for Gaza the focus of Israeli FM’s visit to Cyprus (2)

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen will pay Cyprus a visit on Wednesday in the light of Nicosia’s initiative for humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza.

“On December 20, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen will visit Cyprus. The visit of the Israeli Foreign Minister is related to the plans for the development and implementation of the initiative  of the Republic of Cyprus to create a maritime corridor to provide humanitarian aid to the civilian population in Gaza” Government Spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis said Tuesday during a media briefing at the Presidential Palace.

He recalled that last week a technical team from Israel visited Cyprus, where they held meetings and visited the infrastructure involved in the implementation of the initiative.

The Israeli Foreign Minister will hold a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Constantinos Kombos, in the presence of technical teams to discuss technical issues related to the initiative, the Spokesman added.

Letymbiotis also said that on Monday, the Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs held  telephone communications with his counterparts from Britain and France during which he discussed the developments in the region and the initiative of the Republic of Cyprus as it has been formed so far.

Asked whether the visit of the Israeli Foreign Minister means that the government of Israel has given its approval, the Spokesman noted that since these frequent visits to take place from both sides and on a technical level, means that there is, on a political level, the will to implement the initiative.

The technical issues have almost all been resolved, he noted, adding that we should wait for the green light from Israel and the visit of the Israeli Foreign Minister, who will see the structures that are part of the initiative.

Invited to say whether there will be an announcement regarding the ship with humanitarian aid that left Larnaka on Saturday night, the Spokesman said that the implementation of the Republic of Cyprus’ initiative has long been the focus of the contacts of the Cypriot diplomacy, pointing out that several states and organisations have expressed their willingness to help either with humanitarian aid, or logistically, or by providing means that can help in the implementation of the initiative.

‘When there is something that can be announced, it will be done as soon as possible’, Letymbiotis told journalists. He also said that the complexity of such an initiative requires detailed planning that has been done on the part of Cyprus. He clarified that the start of the implementation of this initiative is not Cyprus’ responsibility, “we are waiting for the conditions to allow it”, he added. 

The goal is for the humanitarian aid carried by the ship to be distributed to the civilian population in Gaza, he pointed out.

Regarding the content of the aid, he recalled that for some time now aid arrived from the UK, which mainly includes tents and food and pharmaceuticals for the needs of the civilians of  Gaza.

The President of the Republic and the Minister of Foreign Affairs are in contact with states in the region regarding the Middle East issue,  he said.The Spokesman recalled that last week, the European Council did not reach a common position on the matter, saying that President Christodoulides described that as a ‘wound’.