Second food shipment for Gaza Strip leaves Cyprus port

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A cargo ship carrying food aid for the residents of the Gaza Strip has left a Cypriot port.
A cargo ship carrying food aid for the residents of the Gaza Strip has left a Cypriot port.

A second shipment of aid carrying almost 400 tonnes of food for Gaza has left Cyprus’ Larnaca port as the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan and France again called for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

The aid will be taken to Gaza by a cargo ship and a platform towed by a salvage vessel.

It will be the second dispatch of aid via Cyprus where Cypriot authorities have established, in co-operation with Israel, a maritime corridor to facilitate pre-screened cargoes arriving directly in the besieged Palestinian enclave.

US-based charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) arranged the mission with Spain’s Open Arms charity, with financing mainly from the United Arab Emirates and support from Cypriot authorities.

On its first mission earlier in March, it built a makeshift jetty from rubble to enable offloading almost 200 tonnes of food in the enclave, which does not have any port facilities. 

Saturday’s dispatch includes two forklifts and a crane to assist with future marine deliveries.

Ayman Safadi, Sameh Shoukry and Stephane Sejourne
The foreign ministers of Jordan, Egypt and France have met in Cairo to discuss the Gaza conflict. (EPA PHOTO)

Separately, the United States plans to construct a floating pier off Gaza to receive aid. 

The target date for completion is May 1 but it could be ready by about April 15, Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides said.

The United Nations has warned that famine is imminent in the northern Gaza Strip, where 300,000 people are trapped by fighting. 

Across the whole of the enclave more than half its population of 2.3 million people could face famine by July.

The governments of Egypt, Jordan and France on Saturday urged a ceasefire in the conflict to ensure an influx of aid into the Gaza Strip.

During talks in Cairo, the foreign ministers of the three countries discussed the importance of an immediate ceasefire, aid deliveries and the release of hostages kept in Gaza and Palestinian prisoners in Israel, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told a press conference after the meeting.

Shoukry added that he had also discussed with French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné and their Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi the risks of a planned Israeli ground offensive in Gaza’s city of Rafah near the Egyptian border.

Séjourné said that France opposes any military action in Rafah.

France’s top diplomat also called for opening land crossings to give Gaza access to adequate relief aid and for the “immediate and unconditional” release of hostages held by Hamas.

The Jordanian minister accused Israel of using hunger as a weapon in the war, calling for a binding United Nations Security Council resolution to stop what he called the “starvation crime”.

Israel has been pursuing its massive onslaught in the sealed-off Gaza Strip after the unprecedented massacre led by Hamas militants in Israel on October 7.

The United States, Qatar and Egypt have been mediating between Hamas and Israel for weeks to facilitate a ceasefire deal and the exchange of hostages.

with DPA

Reuters