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Politics

Meng, Pappas, Schneider Support Cyprus-Led Maritime Humanitarian Aid Corridor 

WASHINGTON, DC – On April 11, U.S. Reps. Grace Meng (D-NY), Chris Pappas (D-NH), and Brad Schneider (D-IL), leaders in the Congressional Hellenic Caucus, Congressional Hellenic Israel Alliance, and Abraham Accords Caucus, led a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan expressing support for the Cyprus-led Amalthea maritime humanitarian corridor to increase the amount of humanitarian aid reaching Palestinian civilians in Gaza, as well as continued efforts to reach an agreement between Israel and Hamas to release remaining hostages in exchange for a temporary pause in fighting.

The Amalthea maritime humanitarian corridor allows aid and supplies to flow from staging areas in the Republic of Cyprus to ports in Gaza, presenting a critical opportunity to provide short-term relief to prevent a humanitarian crisis, while ensuring long-term regional stability. The corridor addresses Israel’s security concerns and prevents Hamas from replenishing military capabilities or resources. Since the start of the campaign to defeat Hamas and secure the release of the hostages, over 22,105 trucks have brought 416,460 tons of humanitarian aid into Gaza. The maritime corridor represents yet another mechanism to increase the amount of humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians in Gaza, while strengthening the United States, European, and allied Arab relations in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“The Cyprus-led Amalthea Maritime Corridor is a testament to the years-long partnership between Israel, Cyprus, and the Eastern Mediterranean spearheaded by U.S. leadership,” said Rep. Meng. “As Israel’s war to defeat Hamas continues, this corridor will help support efforts from Israel and the international community to surge humanitarian aid—food, water, and medicine—to Palestinian civilians in Gaza without reinforcing Hamas. Hamas, which just rejected yet another offer to release the hostages in exchange for a temporary ceasefire, must face increased pressure to agree to a deal. The 134 hostages who have remained in captivity for almost 200 days, must be brought home. I am proud to join my colleagues in supporting this effort to increase this urgent humanitarian aid, and I urge Secretary Blinken and National Security Advisor Sullivan to sustain and build on it.”

“I applaud Cyprus for leading the Amalthea humanitarian maritime corridor which will support the delivery of life-sustaining humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians in Gaza. These deliveries will help innocent civilians without the aid falling into Hamas’ hands as we continue to prioritize an agreement for a temporary ceasefire in exchange for the release of Israeli hostages,” said Rep. Pappas.

“Hamas continues to launch rockets into Israel and is still holding more than 130 people — including eight Americans — hostage. Hamas has so far rejected all cease fire proposals facilitated by Egypt, Qatar and the United States. With each passing day, more Gazans fall into despair and the need for humanitarian aid increases, making it essential we utilize the Amalthea corridor to provide aid and relief to Palestinian civilians in Gaza… I’m grateful for President Biden’s leadership which has been critical for helping bring more than 100 hostages home, as well as providing desperately needed relief to civilians in Gaza. I join my colleagues in urging we do all we can to increase the amount of aid provided through the Amalthea corridor,” said Rep. Schneider.

“The government of Cyprus has been unequivocal in its support for Israel since Hamas’ brutal attacks on 10/7, consistently reaffirming Israel’s right to defense and calling for the release of the hostages. AJC is grateful for Cyprus’ friendship with Israel and the Jewish people. Critically, Cyprus is also heeding a call from the international community regarding the necessity of increasing flow and distribution of aid to Palestinians in Gaza. Amidst much tragedy and devastation, and loss of too many Israeli and Palestinian lives, Cyprus’ principled leadership must be heralded. The U.S. should continue to work towards realizing the maritime humanitarian corridor to help pave the vital path forward,” said Ted Deutch, CEO, American Jewish Committee (AJC).

“The strategic partnership between the Republic of Cyprus and the United States has consistently contributed to a safer and more stable Eastern Mediterranean… The Amalthea Maritime Corridor will get humanitarian relief to Palestinian civilians without enabling Hamas to continue its terrorist attacks on Israel. Bravo to Representatives Meng, Pappas and Schneider for rallying Congressional support for this important initiative,” said Endy Zemenides, Executive Director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC).

As a member of the European Union located in the Mediterranean, Cyprus has a unique ability to act as a facilitator between countries providing aid and those dispensing it to civilians in Gaza. Programs like the Cyprus Center for Land Open Seas and Port Security (CYCLOPS) and the Zenon Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) have built expertise in maritime-focused missions, developed a network of skilled security practitioners, and strengthened regional ties to support the close cooperation needed to ensure success. Located within ten miles of Larnaca International Airport and Larnaca Port, CYCLOPS and JRCC are well-positioned to provide the coordination and logistics needed to support humanitarian operations and international partners in the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond.

April 7, 2024, marked six months since Hamas murdered over 1,200 Israelis and took more than 240 hostages. At this time, 133 hostages remain in Gaza as ceasefire negotiations continue in Cairo, Egypt between Israel and Hamas. The letter urges increased pressure on Hamas, which has rejected multiple deals to free the hostages.

The bipartisan letter is also signed by 19 other Members of Congress including: Jake Auchincloss (D-MA), Yadira Caraveo (D-CO), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Jim Costa (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Greg Landsman (D-OH), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Seth Magaziner (D-RI), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Joseph Morelle (D-NY), Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Haley Stevens (D-MI), Dina Titus (D-NV), David Trone (D-MD), and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL). It is supported by HALC and the AJC.

A copy of the letter can be viewed online: https://shorturl.at/pGIW6.

Meng also serves as a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, which funds the State Department.

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