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Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou Announces Cyprus’s Donation of Financial Aid to Gaza
2009-01-02 14:30:37

Nicosia, Dec 31 - The Council of Ministers has decided to donate financial aid amounting to 150,000 euro for the Gaza Strip, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou announced in Nicosia Wednesday after a Cabinet meeting, reiterating his call for an end to Israeli attacks which cause hundreds of victims and make the prospect of peace even more distant.

“The Foreign Ministry continues to monitor developments after the boat, carrying humanitarian and medical aid, with volunteers from ‘Volunteer Doctors – Cyprus’ organization, was hit by the Israeli navy,” he said.

The humanitarian crisis in the area, he pointed out, is not a recent development but is evident since 2007 when Gaza was under blockade.

“Today this crisis is more intense because of Israeli attacks in the area,” he said.

The government, he added, joins its voice with others who demand an end to the Israeli attacks in Gaza, which distances the prospect of peace in the area and hampers efforts in the peace process.

“We express out support to the Palestinian Authority and to efforts to end the Inter-Palestinian crisis in order to press on with the peace process, to bring about peace in this region as we are all watching with grave concern recent developments,” Mr. Stephanou said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou has stressed the urgent need for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, adding that it is very important to send humanitarian aid to those in need as soon as possible.

He also invited the European Union to use Cyprus as a means for the dispatch of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Addressing on Tuesday the extraordinary meeting of European Union Foreign Ministers, Mr. Kyprianou said there cannot be a military solution to the situation in Gaza and called on the EU to support Egypt, the Arab League and the Palestinian Authority in their efforts to achieve inter-Palestinian reconciliation.

The Minister said the EU must display immediate solidarity with the victims of the hostilities in the Gaza Strip and proposed that Cyprus is used for the dispatch of humanitarian aid.

The government of Cyprus, he stressed, is very willing to facilitate in every possible way the efforts of the EU presidency and the EU for an immediate ceasefire and an overall solution.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Cypriot Minister discussed the latest developments in Gaza with the Foreign Ministers of Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.

Three Cypriots, including an MP, and other volunteers aboard Dignity have returned home and are said to being doing fine.

Speaking on her return, MP Dr. Eleni Theoharous, head of the humanitarian mission, said that what Israel has done was “violation of international law and a crime against humanity.”

The other two Cypriot nationals are Katia Christodoulou, photographer with the Cyprus News Agency and Martha Paisi, a volunteer with the non-governmental organization Volunteer Doctors – Cyprus.

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