European Council welcomes Amalthea Initiative in its Conclusions

The European Council has welcomed Cyprus’ Amalthea Initiative to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza, saying in its Conclusions that additional land routes and crossings are needed.

The 27 EU leaders adopted conclusions on Ukraine, security and defence, the Middle East, enlargement and reforms, migration, preparedness and crisis response and the European Semester. They also had a lunch with UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

In the Conclusions, the European Council among other things, calls for “an immediate humanitarian pause leading to a sustainable ceasefire, the unconditional release of all hostages and the provision of humanitarian assistance”.

It also “welcomes the Amalthea Initiative opening a maritime route for emergency assistance from Cyprus to Gaza, which supplements land routes that remain the main way to deliver the volumes needed”. It notes that, additional land routes and crossings are needed.

On Thursday, a senior officials’ meeting for technical discussions was convened in Cyprus, with the participation of over 35 countries and several international agencies, aiming to accelerate the “Amalthea Plan” to deliver additional amounts of humanitarian assistance by sea to Gaza.

A first vessel, in a joint initiative of the World Central Kitchen and Open Arms NGOs, in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, delivered to Gaza around 200 tonnes of food. A second ship, with around 500 tonnes of aid, was to depart from Larnaca port to Gaza, as soon as weather conditions allow, officials said.

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