Mitsotakis to attend humanitarian conference for Gaza in Paris

Mitsotakis to attend humanitarian conference for Gaza in Paris

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will attend on Thursday the International Humanitarian Conference for Gaza’s Civilian Population that is being hosted in Paris.

Officials from Western and Arab nations, the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations are gathering in Paris to discuss how to provide aid to civilians in the Gaza Strip during Israel’s war with Hamas, including proposals for a humanitarian maritime corridor and floating field hospitals.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who has called for a “humanitarian pause” in the war, wants the conference to address the besieged Palestinian enclave’s growing needs including food, water, health supplies, electricity and fuel.

Over 50 nations are expected to attend, including several European countries, the United States and regional powers such as Jordan, Egypt and the Gulf countries, the French presidency said. Also attending is Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.

Israeli authorities won’t participate in Thursday’s conference, the Elysee said.

The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, the UN’s top aid official and the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross are expected to provide details about urgent needs in the Gaza Strip.

More than 1.5 million people — or about 70% of Gaza’s population — have fled their homes, and an estimated $1.2 billion is needed to respond to the crisis in Palestinian areas.

Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides will present his plan for a humanitarian sea corridor to Gaza which he has said aims for a “sustained, secure high-volume flow of humanitarian assistance to Gaza in the immediate, medium and long term.” Ships would deliver the aid from Cyprus’ main port of Limassol, about 255 miles (410 kilometers) away.

French officials said they are also considering evacuating injured people to hospital ships in the Mediterranean off the Gaza coast. Paris sent a helicopter carrier off the Cyprus coast and is preparing another with medical capacities on board for that purpose.

Thursday’s discussions will also include financial support and other ways to help Gaza’s civilians.

France is expected to announce some additional funding. Since the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, Paris has provided an additional 20 million euros ($21.4 million) in humanitarian aid for Gaza through the U.N. and other partners and sent 54 tons of aid via three flights to Egypt.

On Tuesday, the German government said it will provide 20 million euros ($21 million) in new funding, in addition to releasing 71 million euros ($76 million) already earmarked for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees following a review it launched after the Hamas attack.

European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are also attending the conference. The 27-nation bloc is the world’s top aid supplier to the Palestinians . It has sent almost 78 million euros ($83 million) this year.

Amnesty International welcomed the humanitarian conference and called on states “to push for an immediate cease-fire by all parties — as this is a vital precondition to ensure the people of Gaza receive any kind of sustained, effective, and impactful humanitarian aid.”

On Wednesday evening, human rights activists from several groups including Doctors Without Borders, Action Against Hunger and Doctors of the World gathered near the Eiffel Tower to call for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.

“If the parties involved in this conference only discuss technical details such as the number of trucks to be driven through, it will amount to a cosmetic discussion that will delay the real issue, the cease-fire,” Michel Lacharité, head of emergency operations at Doctors without Borders France, said in a statement.


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