Cyprus is ready to contribute to the ‘herculean effort’ required to reconstruct Gaza if a ceasefire goes ahead, President Nikos Christodoulides said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Dead Sea Summit in Jordan, he outlined Cyprus’ goal of increasing aid to Gaza through the Amalthea humanitarian corridor while condemning the “expanded military operations in Rafah.”

The conference gathered state leaders, NGOs and UN officials at a conference titled ‘Call for Action: Urgent Humanitarian Response for Gaza’. It aims at addressing the dire humanitarian needs in the besieged enclave.

Christodoulides voiced his concern over “irreversible and catastrophic consequences” in Rafah, underlining that “land routes such as the lifeline that is the Rafah crossing, are irreplaceable and should be allowed to function unhindered.

“For this reason, I am very concerned, and I condemn the expanded military operations in Rafah, which may have irreversible and catastrophic consequences.”

The president highlighted that Cyprus was attending the summit as a country “in the region and of the region.”

He added that Cyprus is the EU member state closest to the region. “My country had a distinct responsibility and a moral duty to act in addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. This is why we established a maritime route for delivering humanitarian assistance to the ones in need in Gaza.

“The Amalthea plan is the realisation of a moral obligation but also the expression of our wish to be present, to be active and to help in any way that we can, in reducing the suffering of people,” Christodoulides said.

A day earlier, the UN Security Council adopted a US-drafted resolution backing a proposal for a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas in the Gaza Strip, which the latter also accepted.

Christodoulides expressed the hope that “the roadmap for an immediate ceasefire and the release of the hostages will be accepted and implemented.”

At the same time “we also know that the road to reconstruction and recovery does not stop there. The ceasefire will only be the beginning of the herculean effort for reconstruction.”

To this end, Cyprus will once again significantly increase its contribution to UNRWA, he added.

Concluding his address, the president sought to stress that the only way for a sustainable solution is the revival of the two-state solution, in line with UN resolutions.

“Political developments must go hand-in-hand with ensuring that the Gaza Strip allows for its civilians to live in dignity. This means extraordinary investments in humanitarian needs, reconstruction and economic development. And this investment is not just an investment in Gaza. It is an investment in the stability and security of all – Israelis and Palestinians alike, and the region as a whole.”

A number of ideas were discussed during a working group earlier in the day, he underlined. “It is our duty and responsibility as leaders to take heed of their advice and act.”