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Fire-fighting mode in region cannot continue says president (video)

sheikh abdullah bin zayed al nahyan, uae minister of foreign affairs attends the cairo summit for peace, at the st. regis in cairo
Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides addressing the summit

Our region cannot continue to address its crises in fire-fighting mode, President Nikos Christodoulides said on Saturday addressing the Cairo Summit for Peace, in the face of the continuing crisis in Israel and Palestine.

“What this crisis, as well as other recent crises have taught us, is that there are no frozen conflicts. That in the absence of viable, lasting peace, there is always the risk of erupting conflict, with devastating consequences and ripple effects,” Christodoulides said.

He added that Cyprus’ approach to the issue, which started on October 7, when Palestinian militant extremist group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, could be broken down into several points.

According to the president, the first was to condemn the terrorist attack by Hamas, while the second was to realise Hamas did not represent all the Palestinian people.

He added that the right to self-defence needs to be exercised in line with international law, and humanitarian law.

cairo summit for peace
Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides (right) is seen as a family photo is taken

“[There is] the need for permanent de-escalation, and [it is of] vital importance to protect all civilians – the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure is unacceptable,” he said.

He also called for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, and to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches Gaza.

“We fully acknowledge Egypt’s pivotal role, also in this respect. To this end, Cyprus stands ready to assist in any way possible.”

Christodoulides also called for the two sides to recommit to a viable two-state solution, in line with the parameters reflected in the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.

“This can be the only viable solution to the problem. It is abundantly clear that we have no other option but to create the conditions for the resumption of a meaningful peace process,” he said.

He added that in the vacuum created in the absence of fair and viable political solutions that address the root causes of conflicts, “we will not see an end to the cycle of violence”.

Commenting on issues in the region, he said that the current conflict also presents a serious national security threat that cannot be overstated and should not be underestimated, particularly for the countries of the region.

egyptian president abdel fattah al sisi greets cypriot president nikos christodoulides during the cairo international summit for peace in the middle east in cairo
Cyprus President Nikos Christdoulides is welcomed to Egypt by his counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

“For example, Egypt and Jordan, are shouldering an enormous migratory burden. They cannot be expected to shoulder any more,” he said.

He added that they also share the fear that, as has often been the case in the past, the neighbourhood will disproportionately bear the brunt of the consequences of this conflict.

“We cannot be expected to do that on our own. This is not a regional crisis of limited concern or impact. It is fundamentally a question of international peace and security and a challenge that our global collective security system must respond to,” he said.

He added that the UN secretary-general, who also attended the meeting, must be given space to contribute decisively to peacemaking in the Middle East and to contain the ramifications of the crisis.

Arab leaders at the summit condemned Israel’s two-week-old bombardment of Gaza and demanded renewed efforts to reach a Middle East peace settlement to end a decades-long cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Palestinians would not be displaced or driven off their land. “We won’t leave, we won’t leave,” he told the summit.

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