Let me start by thanking President Macron for hosting today’s conference, which unfortunately is taking place against a backdrop of an escalating humanitarian crisis in the region. We deplore the loss of life of innocent civilians. Our first thoughts are with the families of the victims as well as with the families of the hostages. And of course, we’re deeply concerned with the escalation on the ground in the past days.
I would like to thank in particular all the humanitarian agencies on the ground and to express my condolences for the loss of life of those who have put their own life at risk in order to save others.
Greece, together with Cyprus, is a country in the immediate neighbourhood, and we stand ready to contribute to any effort for the alleviation of the suffering. We have already sent a first shipment of humanitarian assistance by air to the El Arish airport. Given the proximity of Greece to Sinai, we would stand ready to play an important role in this newly established air corridor that could provide assistance very quickly in order for this assistance to enter Gaza from south.
We’ve also discussed extensively with Cyprus our contribution to the idea of a sea corridor. We very much support what was said by President Christodoulides in terms of providing humanitarian assistance to Gaza at an increased volume, which only a ship can provide. The Cypriot proposal is well thought out. I think the most difficult aspect is to identify a proper landing zone in southern Gaza to establish the necessary port infrastructure and of course, to ensure the safety of the route, which would need the cooperation of all actors involved.
If these preconditions are met, Greece would stand ready to provide naval assets to assist with this project and would be looking to all involved actors to help us with possible logistics, especially those who know the geography of the area in much more detail.
I will not repeat the positions of Greece when it comes to the overall conflict. This is not a time or a place to do so. Let me just conclude, Mr. President, by repeating what you said, the necessity to start discussing now about a possible political solution to this conflict, which eventually will be the only possible way to ensure a lasting peace in the area.
Palestinian statehood is a precondition for a long-term peace in the region and the two-state solution, the only possible avenue that we can pursue in order to get to that result.
Thank you very much.