President Sisi in Jordan for Gaza humanitarian response conference

Ahram Online , Tuesday 11 Jun 2024

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is attending today the “Call for Action: Urgent Humanitarian Response for Gaza” Conference jointly organised by the United Nations, Egypt and Jordan on the Dead Sea coast on Tuesday.

A file Photo of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. AP


The conference will be attended by heads of state, government representatives, and key humanitarian and relief organizations.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is on a Middle East tour to Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Qatar from 10-12 June, as well as Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas will attend the conference, according to AFP.

The conference aims to mobilise international support for humanitarian relief efforts in the Gaza Strip, said Egyptian Presidential Spokesman Ahmed Fahmy.

“The conference is taking place amid an unprecedented exacerbation of conditions in the Gaza Strip,” the spokesman said.

He added that the conference will address the humanitarian aspect of facilitating aid access to Gaza and means of addressing the humanitarian disaster faced by civilians in the strip.

It will also support the humanitarian relief efforts of UN agencies, particularly the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and other organizations involved in receiving and distributing aid within Gaza.

On the sidelines of the conference, President El-Sisi is expected to hold meetings with the participating leaders to consult on the latest efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza and facilitate humanitarian assistance.

The emergency conference is being held at the invitation of Egyptian El-Sisi, Jordanian King Abdullah II, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry, Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Safadi and the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths are participating.

For his part, King Abdullah stressed the importance of the conference in unifying and consolidating efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to the strip.

‘Humanitarian disaster’

The Israeli war in Gaza since October 7 has created one of the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophes, killing tens of thousands of Palestinians, injuring scores, and causing most of the 2.3 million population to leave their homes.

Unrelenting bombardment accompanied with crossing closures imposed by Israeli authorities has also impeded the delivery of life-saving aid to affected population in Gaza.

An Israeli ground operation in Rafah that commenced on May 7 has led to the closure of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt since then.

An Israeli move to take over the Gazan side of the crossing on that day has blocked the main entry of much-needed aid and enhanced fears of a looming famine.

Meeting with El-Sisi on Monday, Blinken emphasized the urgent need for the reopening of the Rafah crossing to ensure vital humanitarian assistance.

An Egyptian-US-Israeli meeting in Cairo early in June has concluded with Egypt insisting on Israel’s withdrawal from the Palestinian side of the crossing as a condition to reopen it.

The Egyptian security delegation at the talks stressed Israel's full responsibility for preventing the entry of relief and humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

Egypt is committed to only coordinating with Palestinian or international parties over the Rafah crossing, said a high-level Egyptian source to Al-Qahera News channel late in May.

Late in May, Egypt started redirecting Gaza-bound humanitarian aid trucks from the Rafah crossing to Karm Abu Salem crossing temporarily as per an agreement between Egyptian and US presidents.

Over the past eight months, the Israeli war has killed over 37,000 Palestinians and wounded more than 84,000 others, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.

According to the UN’s ReliefWeb site, the war also displaced over 1.7 million people—75 per cent of Gaza’s population—as of late May.

The displaced individuals are sheltering in a small geographical area in central Gaza with limited access to essential services, which enhances humanitarian need and physical insecurity, said the site.

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