Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus

Your Majesty, President Sisi, UN Secretary-General,

Your Excellencies,

At the outset, I would like to thank His Majesty King Abdullah for hosting us, a few days after Jordanians marked the 25th anniversary of your accession to the throne. I congratulate Your Majesty for your Silver Jubilee. I also wish to express my deep appreciation to King Abdullah, but also to President Sisi and United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Guterres for convening us here today. This Summit and your call to action are significant and timely. Not solely for Gaza, but for our region and beyond.

Jordan and Egypt are pillars of peace and stability in this region. A continuation and an escalation of the crisis in Gaza will impact them directly, and will also have extensive and unpredictable regional reverbarations. Therefore, when they call on us to mobilise further support, enhance donor coordination and efficiency, we need to heed their call.

Cyprus is present today at this Summit as a country in the region and of the region. As the European Union (EU) member state closer to the region, but also as a neighbour and part of 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 have 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. The martime route complements existing humanitarian routes, primarily Egypt’s Rafah crossing, as well as Jordan’s invaluable efforts through land and air.

Land routes, such as the lifeline that is the Rafah crossing, are irreplacable 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.

Through the Cyprus maritime corridor, the Amalthea Plan, and via the US pier, additional volumes of much-needed humanitarian assistance have been delivered to Gaza. Our goal is for this flow of assistance to continue and further increase.

To this end, I want to express my gratitude to the efforts of the many stakeholders in the region and beyond. I want to particularly note the contribution of the EU Commission, through the vital work by DG ECHO, as well as the UAE’s pivotal and persistent support. The backing of all of our partners has been vital for this route to open and effectively operate.

I also want to personally thank UN Senior Coordinator, Mrs Sigrid Kaag. Her support and assistance, implementing UN Security Council resolution 2720 by rolling out the UN digital database in Cyprus, has helped this maritime route in facilitating, monitoring and verifying the flow of aid from Larnaka and from the US pier into Gaza.

I invite all stakeholders to support the work of Mrs Kaag. I also invite all donor countries and humanitarian actors to utilise the 2720 database.

I echo King Abdullah, President Sisi and Secretary-General Guterres’ call for action. It is imperative that all of us do our collective utmost. No matter how big or small our domestic economies are, how near or far we are from Gaza, we all need to take that extra step. Send more humanitarian and financial assistance. Support UN Senior Coordinator Kaag’s mandate. Support the UN humanitarian agencies on the ground. The crisis in Gaza is not going away, and we all need to do our part to effectively address it.

While we hope that the roadmap for an immediate ceasefire and the release of the hostages will be accepted and implemented, we also know that the road to reconstruction and recovery does not stop there. The ceasfire will only be the beginning of the herculian effort for reconstruction.

For this reason, additionally to establishing the direct maritime route to Gaza, this year we will once again significantly increase our contribution to UNRWA. UNRWA’s services in Gaza and across the region are essential and needs to continue and be reinforced.

In closing, I would like to stress that the only way for a sustainable solution is the revival of the two-state solution, in line with UN resolutions. As I stated already during the Cairo Summit last October, we have no other option but to create the conditions for the resumption of a meaningful peace process.

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. 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.

Our colleagues and experts already laid down a number of ideas during the working group section earlier today. It is our duty and responsibility as leaders to take heed of their advice and act.