Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos met his Palestinian counterpart Riyad Al-Maliki and other Palestinian officials in Ramallah on Monday.

The meeting took place “in the light of concerning developments in the Middle East” a foreign ministry bulletin said.

Discussions centred on the need to avoid a regional escalation of the crisis, as well as the urgent humanitarian needs of civilians.

Kombos reiterated the initiative to create a maritime humanitarian corridor between Cyprus and Gaza. The foreign ministry also specified he had announced a “significant financial contribution from Cyprus towards Palestinians” without disclosing the amount.

Cyprus’ foreign ministry reiterated the importance of humanitarian assistance from the EU, as well Cyprus’ position to restart peace talks in the Middle East on the basis of a two-state solution based on UN resolutions.

The minister’s visit comes after his visit to Amman on Sunday where he met his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Al Safadi. The meetings are part of intense diplomatic efforts aiming to de-escalate the situation in the Middle East.

Ministry spokesman Theodoros Gotsis said on Monday the diplomatic effort by Cyprus is focused on the idea of a maritime humanitarian corridor to Gaza, first proposed by President Nikos Christodoulides.

The president revealed last Thursday he had discussed the idea with Egyptian and Isareli counterparts.

“The parameters of the initiative and the plan being developed have received a positive response and have already moved to the next stage,” he added.

“Cyprus recently demonstrated its solidarity with Israel over the terrorist attacks by Hamas,” Gotsis recalled on CyBC’s morning radio, referring to the president’s trip to meet Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on October 21.

“Contact with Egypt and other states is also ongoing,” Gotsis said, adding that Cyprus has a history of supporting the Palestinian Authority with humanitarian aid, including towards construction of a desalination plant in Gaza.

The spokesman seemed at pains to assure that the state’s support for Palestinian civilians, who are facing an onslaught of attacks by Israel’s defence forces in retaliation for the terrorist killings and kidnappings by Hamas, was even-handed following Cyprus’ abstention on voting for a UNSG ceasefire resolution on Friday, which drew criticism from some, notably Akel.

“President Christodoulides also visited Ramallah some months ago and there is no question about the state’s support for the Palestinian Authority,” Gotsis said.

In August during the first visit by a Cypriot president to Palestine since 2015, Christodoulides signed a memorandum of cooperation between the governments of Cyprus and Palestine facilitating funding for the establishment of a community centre in the village of Ein Qinya.

“The foreign minister is also to have further discussions with EU members states on how to de-escalate the situation,” Gotsis said, adding that French President Emmanuel Macron recently supported the president’s idea for a maritime humanitarian corridor.

“Cyprus could serve as a base for humanitarian operations,” Macron had said at the European Union summit in Brussels on Friday.