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02-04-2024 15:00

The President of the European Parliament at the joint press conference with the President of the Republic at the JRCC

"Cyprus is Europe's primary gateway to the Middle East, Asia and Africa. And as we can see today, it is also the departure point for the critical “Amaltheia” initiative. What happens here is a precise translation of our European values; solidarity, peace, united in the defence of our common humanity.

The situation on the ground remains desperate. Too many innocent people have died. Just this morning, we woke up to the tragic news of more aid workers killed. We must use all our resources to get answers, to bring in more relief. Humanitarian organisations like World Central Kitchen (WCK) must be protected.

Dear Nikos, we welcome the "Amaltheia" initiative and we very much appreciate your leadership and your personal commitment to make this a tangible success, a reality. Our approach is to get more help into Gaza, save innocent lives, and advance the need for a two-state solution that gives Palestinians a true perspective while giving Israel security.

The European Parliament will keep pushing for a cease fire, as we have been doing for months. We will keep seeking the return of the remaining hostages. We will continue to emphasise that there can be no prospect of peace, security, stability and prosperity for Gaza as long as Hamas operates with impunity.

We will continue to advocate for a settlement that empowers peaceful, legitimate Palestinian leadership and one that ensures lasting stability in the region.

I think this is just one example of the leadership Europe and the world has seen from Cyprus, and it proves the point that in Europe we know no big and small leadership and ideas do not depend on geography. And Cyprus proves this every day here, and particularly through its members in the European Parliament.

On the Cyprus problem, dear President, let me reassure you and reiterate that you have the full support of the European Parliament to find a way forward under the UN plan. And your personal commitment and leadership on this is very much appreciated.

On migration next week, we have a big unprecedented legislative package that will hopefully go through the European Parliament that was asked from us, from citizens, including from Cyprus in 2019, when we ran for the last European elections. With this legislative package, we will be able to answer both in the short and medium term, but also hopefully in the longer term, the individual national challenges that countries such as yours are facing in regard to migration.

We are two months away from the European Parliament elections. This is the reason why I am also here, is that your vote, your voice matters. Do not let anyone else decide for you. This election is way too important for that. The next few years will be decisive for Europe and for both sides of our Mediterranean. And I am confident that European citizens in Cyprus, in every member state, will respond. So, dear President, dear Nikos, thank you again for Cyprus's leadership and thank you for keeping European values at heart."

Q: Is last night’s tragic event a setback for the “Amaltheia” initiative since WCK already announced its decision to pause all its activities, and is it too soon to talk about a third shipment?

President Christodoulides: More important is that the humanitarian needs are there and the initiative will continue. And as I mentioned before, we are also in contact with the United States, as it is very well-known. They prepare the peer in Gaza. And I think we will be in a position to have more humanitarian assistance sent to Gaza before the end of the month. We have this unfortunate incident. I express again the condolences of the Republic of Cyprus. But the “Amaltheia” initiative will continue as a humanitarian need is there.

Q: How will the European Parliament respond to the today's tragic events? Shouldn't there have been more decisive actions towards protecting humanitarian aid workers and people on the ground?

President Metsola: Absolutely. So we will convene as a plenary in the next few days. You will recall that the European Parliament has, since the very beginning of the conflict, not shied away from being the first institution to call for a ceasefire. To call for the return of all hostages with great concern for the number of innocent lives that have been lost. And today's latest tragedy being an addition to the grave concern that we continue to shine a spotlight on. We have also been in contact with the journalists on the ground. In my talks with the United Nations Secretary-General the week before last, this centred around how we as a European Parliament can continue to call not only with language, but also in pushing our country's leadership in order to speak to all the actors in the region. In order for there to be a ceasefire, the hostilities must stop. What happened today is just the last instalment of yet another tragedy that can only increase as the days go by. The situation is extremely desperate.

For the video of the statements, press here.