NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus offered more detail Wednesday on its initiative to create a sea corridor for the steady flow of humanitarian assistance from Cyprus to Gaza, saying that aid-laden ships would sail directly to the enclave, where United Nations personnel would receive it for eventual distribution.
Cyprus government spokesman Constantinos Letymbiotis said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “saw the initiative in a positive light” during a long telephone conversation Tuesday evening with Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides.
Cyprus is still sketching out with fellow European Union member countries and Arab states the logistical details of its plan to ferry aid from its main port of Limassol to Gaza once conditions on the ground permit it.
Ships would be vetted at the point of departure at the Limassol port to ensure that nothing would be transported that could be weaponized by Hamas to use against Israel.
Gaza’s humanitarian needs have escalated since the Israel-Hamas war erupted following the Palestinian militant group’s surprise Oct. 7 attacks in Israel that left nearly 1,400 Israelis dead and at least 240 people taken hostage. Israel retaliated with a military operation that has so far left over 8,000 Palestinians dead.
United Nations Under Secretary-General for peace operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix said that U.N. officials “are actively working so that more humanitarian assistance can be delivered to the population of Gaza.”
Lacroix said it’s up to the parties to decide the best way to ensure that the aid reaches those who need it most.
“But I can assure you that the determination to work actively in that direction is there from the U.N.,” Lacroix told reporters after talks with Christodoulides in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia.
The U.N. official said the Cypriot initiative is “highly appreciated” by the world body.