By Andria Kades and Elias Hazou

Cyprus is in talks with “all involved parties” as part of its efforts to resume the maritime aid corridor to Gaza, while donations are already coming into the Amalthea fund, Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos said on Thursday.

During a press conference reviewing the ministry’s efforts over the past year, Kombos highlighted the $15 million donation to the Amalthea fund by the UAE.

“The Amalthea fund is structured on the basis of international standards, with transparency and strong accountability.”

The primary objective of the fund is to manage all purchases and services related to the maritime humanitarian corridor to Gaza, Kombos specified. It will be overseen by a council comprising a management unit, an implementing agency, and an audit body.

Its purpose is to secure purchases, waterborne assets and services for the corridor’s operation, he underlined. It will also be used to develop existing infrastructure in Cyprus and secure equipment which, he clarified, with remain within the Republic.

“All of this is going to involve government contributions,” he underlined.

According to Kombos, once the platform in Gaza that the US is preparing is fully operational, “over 1,500 tonnes a week (of aid) are expected and this can be increased.”

A realistic timeframe would be around May 1 for the US platform to be wrapped, he specified.

He also said that in the past year the US Secretary of State, the head of the CIA, the head of the Office of the National Security Council, the Director of the Office of the US Secretary of State have visited Cyprus.

Meetings and contacts were held at the level of Assistant Secretary of State by at least two officials, Kombos added. This is indicative of the frequency of contacts and the “importance attached to this relationship by both sides.”

Meantime also on Thursday, a team of US congressmen addressed a bipartisan letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, where they expressed support for the Cyprus-led Amalthea maritime humanitarian corridor “to increase the amount of humanitarian aid reaching Palestinian civilians in Gaza, as well as continued efforts to reach an agreement between Israel and Hamas to release remaining hostages in exchange for a temporary pause in fighting”.

Also addressed to US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, the letter notes that the Amalthea initiative “allows aid and supplies to flow from staging areas in the Republic of Cyprus to ports in Gaza, presenting a critical opportunity to provide short-term relief to prevent a humanitarian crisis, while ensuring long-term regional stability. The corridor addresses Israel’s security concerns and prevents Hamas from replenishing military capabilities or resources.”

In the related press release, one of the signatories, Chris Pappas (Democrat-New Hampshire) said:

“I applaud Cyprus for leading the Amalthea humanitarian maritime corridor which will support the delivery of life-sustaining humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians in Gaza. These deliveries will help innocent civilians without the aid falling into Hamas’s hands as we continue to prioritise an agreement for a temporary ceasefire in exchange for the release of Israeli hostages.”

The letter is supported by the Hellenic American Leadership Council and the American Jewish Committee.