Cyprus President, Nikos Christodoulides, will visit Egypt and Jordan on Tuesday as part of an initiative to establish a humanitarian aid corridor to Israeli-besieged Gaza, Reuters reports.
Cyprus, the closest European Union member state to the Middle East, has offered to host and operate facilities for sustained aid directly into the Gaza Strip once hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group cease.
Christodoulides planned to meet Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, and King Abdullah of Jordan. There were “technical discussions” on the matter between Cypriot and Israeli officials on Sunday.
The Cypriot plan is aimed at expanding capacity for humanitarian relief directly to the coastal Gaza Strip beyond limited deliveries being made through the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Palestinian enclave.
Such an aid corridor faces logistical, political and security challenges – Gaza has no port and its waters are shallow.
Britain, which sent 80 tonnes of Gaza-destined aid in the form of mostly blankets and tents to Cyprus last week, has offered watercraft able to access the coastline without the need for special infrastructure if the corridor ever materialises, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
As many as 80 per cent of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have fled their homes in an Israeli bombing campaign that has reduced much of the crowded coastal strip to a desolate wasteland.