The thoughts we are with them families of victims and hostages, pointed out Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, speaking at the international conference on the provision of humanitarian aid to the civilian population of the Gaza Strip, held in Paris following the initiative of French President Emmanuel Macron.
The Prime Minister pointed out that Hellas as Cyprus are close to the crisis area, noting that the Greek state has already provided humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip by aerial means.
Mr. Mitsotakis also noted that “given Greece’s proximity to the region, we expect to play an important role in the effort to provide direct aid to Gaza.”
Kyriakos Mitsotakis also stood up for her Cypriot proposal to create a sea corridor for the transfer of humanitarian aid from Cyprus to Gaza and noted that Greece intends to actively participate in the project.
“The most difficult thing is to find a safe unloading area and of course to ensure the safety of the route. If these conditions can be fulfilled, Greece will provide its help by all possible means and we certainly expect the help of all those who know the geography of the region to help” continued the Greek Prime Minister.
Finally, the prime minister pointed out the necessity “to start the discussion about political solution in this conflict, which is the only way to ensure peace and stability in the region”.
Mrs. Mitsotakis to Palestinian Prime Minister: Greece is ready to help with humanitarian aid
Earlier, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Staiyeh, shortly before participating in the International Humanitarian Conference on Civilians in Gaza, which is being held in Paris.
At the start of their meeting, they had a following dialogue:
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: I am glad to see you.
Mohammad Ibrahim Shtayyeh: The pleasure is mine. I hope to see you under different circumstances.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Yes, I was about to say that it would be good to meet under different circumstances, but I think it was important for Greece to be here. We want to play a very important role in addressing the misery of the people in Gaza and we want to see how we can help in these very difficult conditions.
Mohammad Ibrahim Shtayyeh: We must break the embargo. The siege of Gaza is a slow death for everyone, especially the wounded. It’s not just food, but also medical supplies. Our main concern is really to be able to treat the wounded. That’s who you’re talking about, 26,000 people. I don’t know how many of them will survive. I think our priority, apart from food and all other humanitarian issues, is to deal with this danger. If we and you can find a way to actually provide that humanitarian aid through any avenue possible, I think that would be a good idea. Of course, for us, as you know, the most important thing is that whatever we do, we will not do it or it will not be used as a way for people to leave. This is something we want to avoid completely because we know what Israel’s intentions are. The intention of the Israelis is to expel as many Palestinians as possible.
During the meeting it was discussed humanitarian situation at Strip her Gaza. The prime minister reiterated his growing concern over civilian casualties and underlined the need for humanitarian pauses to ensure a steady flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis repeated it readiness her Greece to assist with humanitarian aid, as well as that Greece is in contact with the Republic of Cyprus and the partners involved on the possibility of creating a humanitarian corridor by sea for the transfer of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.
The Prime Minister emphasized that the Hamas is terrorist organisation and that it does not represent the Palestinian people. He reiterated that the only legal representative of the Palestinian people is the Palestinian Authority and emphasized Greece’s long-standing support for the two-state solution. Finally, he noted that only a political solution on this basis can guarantee peace between Israelis and Palestinians and stability in the region.
Mrs. Mitsotakis in Politico: Israel has a right to defend itself – How it does it is important
“While we recognize that Israel has the right to defend itself, how it does so is really important and matters a lot,” the prime minister said Kyriakos Mitsotakis on a Politico podcast, while noting that Israel’s allies must tell “hard truths” about its “aggressive” military response against Hamas, as European countries show growing concern over the “proportionality” of retaliation in Gaza.
While the EU has been supporting Israel since the beginning of its counter-offensive following the violent attack by Hamas on October 7 – which killed more than 1,400 people – member states expressed “a heightened concern at the suffering of innocent civilians and the horrific scenes that they followed out of Gaza,” as the prime minister said.
“As Israel continues with this very, very aggressive military campaign, yes, there will be increased concern about the proportionality of the Israeli response,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis said, adding, “I speak as a friend of Israel.”
“And I think sometimes friends have to tell hard truths to friends,” he added.
Politico reports that EU countries – including Greece – have pushed for so-called humanitarian pauses in Gaza to allow the 2.3 million people living in the densely populated coastal strip to receive humanitarian aid.
Without undermining the “strategic goal of defeating Hamas,” it is important to think about the “next day” and how to find a political solution to the conflict, Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.
In fact, he added that “at the end of the day, one must recognize what is the price one must pay to defeat Hamas.”
Domestically, the prime minister said Greece was implementing a “tough but fair” migration policy, which had helped reduce illegal crossings from Turkish shores.
He also reiterated Greece’s right to protect its maritime borders and the need for continued financial aid from the EU, amid some international criticism of Greece pushing migrants back to sea.
“We receive a lot of European aid, but it is important that this European aid does not dry up in the coming years,” he said.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis also said he looks forward to Greece’s relationship with Turkey improving, noting that there has already been a “change of style” in recent months. Despite persistent disagreements between Athens and Ankara – notably the ongoing dispute over maritime zones in the Aegean – Mitsotakis said he hoped the two countries could work together.
“I have always been an open supporter that Turkey should be financially supported by the European Union because it is currently hosting millions of Syrian refugees,” he said. “There are win-win areas where we can work together.”
On the international stage, Mitsotakis said he was proud of how Greece managed to improve its image. After “several international attacks” over the decades, Greece is finally no longer Europe’s “problem child,” he said.