20 December 2023 - Foreign Minister of Israel pays working visit to Cyprus

Foreign Minister of Israel pays working visit to Cyprus

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Constantinos Kombos, met today with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, Mr Eli Cohen, who is on a working visit to Cyprus.

The two Ministers visited the Coordination Centre "Zenon", as well as the Port of Larnaca, which will be used in the context of the implementation of the Amalthea plan, for a maritime corridor for humanitarian aid to Gaza.  During their visit at the Coordination Centre "Zenon", they were briefed by the relevant agencies on their operational readiness.  The two Ministers concluded their visit with statements to the press. 

Speaking to the press, Minister Kombos stated the following:  

"Dear Eli, let me first of all, welcome you to Cyprus.  The circumstances have changed dramatically since our first meeting back in March.

Today is an opportunity to reiterate at these difficult times Cyprus’ approach, which is guided by the following principles.

First, as we have repeatedly and unequivocally stated, Cyprus condemns in the strongest possible terms, the 7th of October terrorist attacks by Hamas.

Secondly, we demand the immediate and unconditional release of all the hostages, as well as ensuring immediate humanitarian access to them.

Thirdly, we all agree that all civilians must be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law.

Furthermore, Cyprus supports the efforts underway in the European Union to fully cut off Hamas’ resources, its infrastructure and facilitation.

Ultimately, Cyprus sees as the only way forward the revival of the Middle East Peace Process, on the basis of a two-state solution, in line with the relevant UN resolutions.  This, we believe, is the only way to ensure conditions of sustainable security and stability for Israelis and Palestinians alike. It is also a crucial step for ensuring the stability of the region.

As the humanitarian needs escalate, so does the urgency for the need to act.

Cyprus’ maritime corridor plan provides for a compact logistical hub. For the safe provision of a sustained flow of high-volume humanitarian assistance to the civilians in Gaza, through a dedicated one-way maritime corridor. For the now, for the medium-term, and for the long-term.

We are standing here in the Coordination Centre «Zenon» in Larnaca, which forms part of the integral facilities for Amalthea’s operationalization, which is based on the provision of a compact, trusted secure logistical hub.

Today, we had the opportunity to be briefed on the current operations and the level of preparations.  We have just visited the facilities here at the Coordination Centre and we will proceed to visit the facilities at the Larnaca port.

The aim is for humanitarian assistance for civilians in the Gaza Strip to be collected, stored, secured, and rigorously inspected before loading on a vessel – all here in Cyprus and, needless to say, the purpose is to complement and scale-up current routes.

I want to reiterate that Cyprus stands ready to provide this maritime lifeline.

Dear Eli, our aim, with which I know you agree, is to act.

It is a commitment to commence now and evolve into what, we hope, will be a long-term enterprise.  One, in which the considerations of all key stakeholders are taken on board.

Cyprus stands ready.  We look forward to your green light for the first voyage.

Dear Eli, again, great pleasure to have you here.


Wednesday, 20 December 2023