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Christodoulides meets Egypt, Jordan leaders to discuss Gaza (update 2)

ΠτΔ – Πρόεδρος της Αιγύπτου – Επίσ
Cyprus Presdient Nikos Christodoulides with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo on Tuesday

President Nikos Christodoulides met his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Jordanian King Abdullah II on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing situation in Gaza.

His first port of call was Egypt, accompanied by Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos and other dignitaries.

He met El-Sisi at the Presidential palace in Cairo, before travelling to Jordan to meet King Abdullah II.

Upon Christodoulides’ arrival in Jordan, he was greeted with full military honours, before holding a private meeting with the King.

He returned to Cyprus on Tuesday afternoon, and said he shared a “common will and vision for a de-escalation of the crisis” with the two leaders, as well as a “commitment to the pursuit of a political situation based on the existence of two states, in accordance with the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions.”

He made reference to the “long-term decisive role played by Egypt in this regard, both in terms of the political dimension of the Middle East and in the context of providing humanitarian aid to civilians in the Gaza strip.”

He also said he had discussed the planned humanitarian maritime corridor between Cyprus and Gaza with El-Sisi.

In addition, he said he had discussed Cyprus’ and Egypt’s plans regarding energy and the utilisation of natural gas deposits in Cyprus’ Exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

He also assured El-Sisi of Cyprus’ “firm support” in strengthening relations between Egypt and the European Union, as well as his intention of organising a tripartite meeting together with the Greek government next year.

Evaluating his subsequent visit to Jordan, Christodoulides said he had “discussed at length the developments in our region and exchanged views regarding the efforts being made internationally to revitalise the peace process in the Middle East” with King Abdullah II.

ΠτΔ – Βασιλιάς της Ιορδανίας – Επί
Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides is welcomed to Jordan by King Abdullah II

Just as he had with Egyptian President El-Sisi, he spoke with the King about the planned humanitarian aid corridor between Cyprus and Gaza, and said King Abdullah II has “publicly expressed support” for the initiative.

He added that himself and King Abdullah II had “agreed to remain in constant contact to promote the implementation of the initiative” as well as promoting efforts for de-escalation efforts in the region.

In addition, he said he had agreed with King Abdullah II about the “importance of respecting the status of the holy places of worship in Jerusalem under Jordanian guardianship.”

He had said on Monday that meetings with the leaders of Egypt and Jordan will be “decisive” in Cyprus’ effort to create a maritime corridor to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza.

He had added that “a great effort is being made, and it is being recognised.”

He added that “it seems unfortunately that this unacceptable situation, with the war, will drag on”, and called for civilians to be protected.

“This must be the priority, and we want to be ready, if and for as long as this situation is perpetuated, to be able to implement the role we say we want to have, a role we are highlighting through specific actions and initiatives,” he said.

The Cypriot plan is aimed at expanding capacity for humanitarian relief directly to the coastal Gaza Strip beyond limited deliveries being made through the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Palestinian enclave.

Such an aid corridor faces logistical, political and security challenges – Gaza has no port and its waters are shallow.

The United Kingdom, which sent 80 tonnes of Gaza-destined aid in the form of mostly blankets and tents to Cyprus last week, has offered watercraft able to access the coastline without the need for special infrastructure if the corridor ever materialises, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

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