High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell has welcomed the launch of the maritime humanitarian aid operation from Cyprus to Gaza, noting that more access by land should be facilitated.

The EU official, addressing the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip at the conclusion of the foreign affairs council held on Monday in Brussels, stressed that the World Food Programme has issued a report which states the situation in Gaza is at an unprecedent scale, with 70 per cent of the population at risk of starvation and 100 per cent under severe food stress.

He thanked Cyprus for the sea corridor initiative, saying, “Certainly, the Cyprus maritime route has to be developed but more access by land has to be facilitated by Israel.”

He also said that the council had discussed sanctions on Hamas and the proposal by Ireland and Spain to review the EU-Israel association agreement.

Borrell further announced that the foreign ministers had agreed on sanctions on 30 natural and legal persons in Russia in connection with the murder of Alexei Navalny. Regarding Ukraine, he said that they agreed on the creation of the fund to support the country within the framework of the European peace mechanism.