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Cyprus Outlines Plan for Maritime Corridor to Get Aid to Gaza

The President of Cyprus outlined a proposal, on Thursday, to open a maritime corridor to help deliver more aid to Gaza, a plan which he said could be operational quickly but which diplomats said faced challenges, Reuters reports.

Under the plan presented by President Nikos Christodoulides at a humanitarian conference in Paris,

“We hope immediately to implement it,” he said of the 25-page proposal.

The plan is aimed at expanding capacity for humanitarian relief to the Gaza Strip beyond limited deliveries being made through the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Palestinian enclave since Israel began its air and ground offensive in Gaza.

Diplomats cautioned that the plan faced logistical, political and also security challenges.

The deliveries through Rafah did not start until about two weeks into the offensive launched by Israel in response to a deadly Palestinian attack in southern Israel on 7 October.

The process has been marred by diplomatic wrangling centred on Israeli demands over inspections, and distribution of the aid has been hampered by security concerns and a lack of fuel.

The construction of port infrastructure off Gaza started in 2016, but was later abandoned.

There was no immediate comment from Israel on the Cypriot proposal.

Christodoulides said the operations centre would be based in the southern Cypriot city of Larnaca, where there is a port and airport, and where a coordination centre with 33 countries is already in place.

The port’s capacity would be 200,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid, enabling 2,000 tonnes of aid transfers per vessel.

Humanitarian aid would arrive in Cyprus and sent on vessels checked daily by a joint committee, including Israel, he said.

Once loaded, convoys would be followed by warships to an area identified on the Gaza coast, from where it would be sent to a safe, neutral area.

Source : MEMO