Cyprus, Greece agree on 'humanitarian support' for Gaza Strip

15:06, June 05, 2010      

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Cyprus and Greece have undertaken an initiative to provide "humanitarian support" for the Gaza Strip, a Cypriot government spokesman said Friday.

The spokesman said the program was agreed upon during a telephone conversation between Cypriot President Demetris Christofias and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.

The spokesman did not elaborate on the initiative but said that Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou, currently in Israel, has already had a series of meetings, including some with Palestinian National Authority officials, on the issue as Christofias' emissary.

The Cypriot government last week refused to allow a Gaza-bound aid flotilla to use Cypriot ports as staging points, reversing its past warm support for pro-Palestinian activists.

The government cited "vital interests" of the island state as the reason, while the Free Gaza Movement, sponsor of the flotilla, believed that Israeli authorities had exerted pressure on Cyprus.

The Cypriot government's statement on the aid initiative came as another ship sent by the Free Gaza Movement sailed toward the blockaded Palestinian enclave in defiance of Israel's threat to stop it.

The activist group said that the vessel carries medical supplies, paper donated by European countries, and other aid materials. Among the activists on board was Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan-Maguire.

The organizers also denied a report by Israel's Ha'aretz daily that they were negotiating with Israeli authorities, which offered to allow the ship to dock without incident at a southern Israeli port instead of Gaza.

The Free Gaza Movement said it is determined to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza, despite Monday's deadly raid by the Israeli navy that killed nine activists and injured dozens more.

Source: Xinhua


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