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. “We have already airlifted a first shipment of humanitarian aid to El Arish airport,” he said.
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.” “On the newly established airstrip that could provide aid very quickly, so that aid can enter Gaza from the south,” he stressed.
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 any means possible and we certainly expect the help of all those who know the geography of the region to help” continued the Greek Prime Minister.
“We have also discussed extensively with Cyprus our contribution to the idea of a maritime corridor. We strongly support what President Christodoulidis has said regarding the provision of increased humanitarian aid to Gaza, which only one ship can carry. The Cypriot proposal is well thought out,” he said.
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”. “The existence of a Palestinian state is a condition for long-term peace in the region, and the two-state solution is the only possible path we can follow to reach this result,” he stressed.
The entire intervention of the prime minister
“Let me first thank President Macron for organizing today’s conference, which unfortunately takes place against the backdrop of the escalating humanitarian crisis in the region. We express our deep sorrow for the loss of innocent citizens. Our first thoughts are with the families of the victims as well as the families of the hostages. And, of course, we are deeply concerned about the escalation in the field in recent days.
I would especially like to thank all humanitarian organizations on the ground and express my condolences for the loss of those who risked their lives to save others.
Greece – together with Cyprus – is a country in the immediate neighborhood and we are ready to contribute to every effort to deal with people’s misery. We have already airlifted a first shipment of humanitarian aid to El Arish airport. Given Greece’s proximity to the Sinai, we would be ready to play an important role in this newly established airstrip that could provide aid very quickly in order for that aid to enter Gaza from the south.
We have also discussed extensively with Cyprus our contribution to the idea of a maritime corridor. We strongly support what President Christodoulidis has said regarding the provision of increased humanitarian aid to Gaza, which only one ship can carry. The Cypriot proposal is well thought out. I think the most difficult aspect is to identify a suitable disembarkation zone in southern Gaza, to create the necessary port infrastructure and, of course, to ensure the safety of the route, which will require the cooperation of all involved.
If these conditions are met, Greece would be ready to provide shipping means to assist in this plan and would look forward to logistical assistance from all involved, especially those who know the geography of the area in much greater detail.
I will not repeat Greece’s positions regarding the conflict as a whole. This is neither the right place nor the right time to do so. Let me close, Mr. President, by reiterating what you have said, the need to start discussing now a possible political solution to this conflict, which ultimately will be the only possible way to ensure lasting peace in the region .
A Palestinian state is a prerequisite for long-term peace in the region, and the two-state solution is the only possible path we can take to reach that outcome.”
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.
Macron: He called for a ceasefire and the immediate, unconditional release of the hostages
French President Emmanuel Macron called for the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages held by Hamas today, pointing out at the same time that there should soon be a humanitarian ceasefire and then a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.
“More immediately we must work to protect civilians. For this a humanitarian pause is needed very quickly and we must work towards a ceasefire,” Macron stressed. “That should be possible,” he added.
Opening the work of the international humanitarian conference on the civilian population in the Gaza Strip, the French president and host of the conference stressed that “the situation in the region is extremely critical and every day it is getting worse” noting that “all lives count” and they are not treated differently.
However, he accused Hamas that when it launched the attack against Israel it knew what would follow and described it as a terrorist organization against which all necessary measures should be taken.
At the same time, the French president underlined the need to achieve progress in the Middle East and advocated the creation of two states, as international agreements on the matter also provide for.
The ambition of the conference being held today in Paris is to “assess the needs in money, in materials”, noted Macron, while he asked that aid be coordinated and organized in a very specific way so that it can be provided.
At the same time, the French president announced that his country will increase its aid to the Palestinians from 20 million euros to 100 million euros in 2023.