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European Commission launches Gaza aid project

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Nicosia, March 9

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced the immediate launch of a project to establish a maritime aid corridor from Cyprus to Gaza.

“We are now very close to opening this corridor, hopefully this Saturday-Sunday, and I’m very glad to see an initial pilot will be launched today,” she told journalists on Friday after visiting Cyprus’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in the port city of Larnaca, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We are launching this Cyprus maritime corridor together: the EU, the UAE and the US,” she added.

In a joint statement endorsed by the European Commission, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Cyprus, the UAE, the UK, and the US, the European Commission said: “Together, our nations intend to build on this model to deliver significant additional aid by sea, working in coordination with UN Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza Sigrid Kaag — who is charged with facilitating, coordinating, monitoring and verifying the flow of aid into Gaza under UN Security Council Resolution 2720.”

The Amalthea Initiative was proposed by Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides due to Cyprus’ proximity to Gaza. It was coordinated by the UAE, aiming for shipment before the start of the Muslim month of Ramadan.

The US has pledged to construct a floating platform off the coast of Gaza for the unloading of aid, while Israeli officials have vetted the aid to address concerns about potential military equipment.

The death toll of Palestinians from the ongoing Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip has risen to 30,878, the Gaza-based Health Ministry said on Friday.

Five months ago, Israel began a large-scale military campaign against Gaza in response to a surprise Hamas attack on Israeli towns adjacent to the enclave, in which Hamas militants killed about 1,200 people and took more than 200 others as hostages.

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