The first shipment of humanitarian aid from Cyprus and the UK containing almost 90 tonnes of assistance has arrived to Egypt’s Port Said and is being transported to the Rafah crossing to reach Gaza, it was announced on Tuesday.

Both the UK and Cyprus foreign ministries issued a statement announcing the development after weeks of speculation as to what the fate of the aid has been. The aid was dispatched from the island two weeks ago.

Sources said the delivery was not made directly to Israel or to the Palestinian territories because Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has not yet given permission for the ship to sail to these areas.

All items were pre-screened in Cyprus.

As such, the British foreign office said 87 tonnes of “life-saving UK and Cypriot aid for the people of Gaza” were delivered by Royal Fleet Auxiliary Ship Lyme Bay to Egypt from Cyprus.

The delivery includes over 10,000 thermal blankets, nearly 5,000 shelter packs and medical supplies to be transferred to Gaza through the Rafah crossing.

President Nikos Christodoulides heralded the delivery as the launch of the maritime humanitarian corridor Amalthia.

The wording of UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron however suggested the corridor was still under the “proposed” stage.

“The UK will continue to work with our partners in the region to open more aid routes into Gaza, including through the proposed maritime corridor between Cyprus and Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” Cameron said.

Meanwhile Christodoulides said Cyprus is “taking advantage of the fact that it is the EU member state in proximity to the region and which maintains excellent relations with the countries in the region.”

He said there was a plan in place to send more aid.

Thus far, Cyprus has touted a maritime humanitarian corridor, which envisioned the aid going directly from Cyprus to Gaza.

According to the foreign ministry, the maritime humanitarian corridor initiative dubbed Amalthia had two “very specific parameters” both of which have been met.

“We announce today that the Republic of Cyprus and the United Kingdom, in a spirit of excellent cooperation and full understanding, have dispatched the first shipment of almost 90 tonnes of aid, transported by a suitable UK vessel, which could serve any delivery option, the choice of which was assessed according to the conditions on the ground.”

The shipment also includes 10 tonnes of medicine, contributed by Cyprus.

“This humanitarian aid arrived in Port Said, Egypt, and will then be transferred, in coordination with the Egyptian Red Crescent, to the designated crossing point of Rafah, in accordance with the applicable procedures.

“The process of receiving and distributing the aid to the Gaza Strip involves the relevant actors involved in the process on the basis of existing arrangements, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Present at the arrival of the humanitarian aid cargo in Port Said were the Chief of Staff and staff of the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Cairo.”

The idea was the humanitarian assistance would go to the port of Ashdod, from where the cargo was to be transported through the Kerem Shalom crossing to Gaza, sources said.

Discussions on this are reportedly ongoing, but curatorial and security issues regarding corridors directly to Gaza are still outstanding.

“The international community now has a viable option at its disposal for sending further humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza. Cooperation with Israel, the UK and other partners has been excellent. We have a plan and concrete planning for sending further humanitarian assistance, always taking into account conditions on the ground and with a number of options in relation to the destination,” Christodoulides underlined.

“Cyprus has from the outset launched an effort to establish a reliable mechanism for the collection, storage and safe shipping of humanitarian aid cargo, building on the available infrastructure and strategic political relationships with all parties involved.”

The foreign ministry specified that the implementation aspect of the Amalthia plan, which includes the option for immediate delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza, is now in place.

“The use of this option, which did not exist but was created, can be timed to materialise when the international community chooses to activate it. The Republic of Cyprus did not promise from the outset that it could control all aspects, but on the contrary, it is working to the best of its ability to help deal with the rapidly deteriorating situation.”

The two parameters included first, the establishment of an operational mechanism to safely receive, store and load significant quantities of humanitarian aid, in a manner that can meet “the increased security needs of stakeholders.”

Secondly, it was important to ensure cooperation with states that have the available facilities that could transport the aid on sea, depending on the choice of delivery point (Gaza, Egypt, Israel) and the timing of the delivery depending on conditions on the ground, the foreign ministry said.

“Both parameters have been implemented and have been publicly accepted by Israel and received the practical support of the United Kingdom. Both of these elements are not insignificant and we continue to consult with other necessarily involved parties, including the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations.”