FM Shoukry stresses UNRWA's key role for Palestinian refugees

Ahram Online , Tuesday 30 Jan 2024

Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry has stressed the key role played by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in providing shelter and humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (R), New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters (L). Photo: Egyptian Foreign Ministry


During a phone call with his New Zealand counterpart Winston Peters on Tuesday, Shoukry called on all international donors, including New Zealand, to continue to provide the necessary support to UNRWA. 

Israel has recently alleged several UNRWA staff were involved in Hamas's attack on 7 October, leading several key donor countries – including New Zealand – to suspend their funding.

UNRWA, as a result, has fired several staff over Israel's accusations, promising a thorough investigation into the claims, with Israel vowing to stop the agency's work in Gaza after the war.

Shoukry's call echoed a similar plea made by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for donor nations to "guarantee the continuity" of the UNRWA activities.

During the call, Egypt's top diplomat called for waiting for the results of the internal investigation process undertaken by the UN agency, according to a statement by the Egyptian foreign ministry.

He urged “refraining from adopting decisions to suspend funding [to UNRWA] amid the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza, a matter that may be perceived as a collective punishment against all the UN agency’s employees as well as the Palestinian people,” read the statement.

Both ministers also exchanged views on the political and diplomatic efforts aimed at implementing the resolutions of the UN General Assembly and Security Council to enhance the humanitarian aid delivered to Gaza.

They also discussed means to implement the UN International Court of Justice's ruling that requires Israel to prevent possible acts of genocide and allow more aid into the Gaza Strip, according to the statement.

Furthermore, Shoukry highlighted Cairo's efforts to help reach a ceasefire, push for a truce, exchange detainees, and ensure the entry of urgent humanitarian and relief aid in a sufficient way to meet the needs of the residents of Gaza.

Both ministers also discussed the latest regional developments, including threats to navigation security in the Red Sea. 

In this regard, Shoukry stressed Egypt’s continuous efforts towards calming the situation to avoid the risks of expanding the conflict in the region and preserve international peace and security.

For nearly four months, Israel has continued its brutal war in the Gaza Strip, with overnight and early morning assaults.

Israel’s war has killed nearly 27,000 Palestinians and wounded 64,000 injured, most of whom are women and children.

The Israeli strikes have destroyed more than half of the buildings in the strip, displacing up to 1.9 Palestinian citizens.

Israel has also since then barred the entry of food, water, medical, and fuel supplies, causing a severe shortage of basic staples. ​

Short link: