Cyprus eyes role in Gaza de-escalation

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Cyprus can contribute to an effort to start a dialogue that may lead to a de-escalation of the crisis in the region, President Nikos Christodoulides said.

He participated in Saturday’s Peace Summit in Cairo on the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza and said it was important as the nearest EU state and a country that has excellent relations with all its neighbours.

He pointed out that only the big EU states participated in the Summit.

“France, Germany, Italy, and Spain because it presides over the Council of the EU, the Republic of Cyprus and Greece.

“So, that in itself is important”.

In Cairo, he met the Egyptian President, the President of the United Arab Emirates, and the President of Palestine, with leaders from Qatar and other countries in the region.

The aim was “to see how conditions can be created that will not worsen this bad situation we are faced with, but also how to achieve de-escalation.”

Within this context, he added, the Republic of Cyprus can contribute either in terms of uninterrupted humanitarian aid or can help if there is need for evacuation in the region.

“And because of the excellent relations that Nicosia maintains with all parties, to initiate a dialogue that may lead to de-escalation.”

He said this was one reason that after the Peace Summit in Cairo, he travelled to Israel to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“In addition to clearly condemning the terrorist attacks by Hamas.

“I developed some ideas that we have and that we have also shared with our Arab friends to see how a situation can be created which will not lead to further escalation.

“We hope to reach de-escalation because, you understand, we are all affected by these developments”.

“One of the things we are trying to achieve is to make an effort to restart the talks for the solution of the Palestinian issue based on the agreed framework”.

In Israel, Christodoulides said there were discussions about humanitarian aid and possible evacuation from the region, but that he also convey to the EU the real situation on the ground.

“We have to say that, in the current crisis, the EU did not show the necessary reflexes.

“Let me remind you that the extraordinary European Council took place almost ten days after the terrorist attack by Hamas.”