Egypt, Qatar sign agreements to supply Gaza with fuel, building materials

Ahram Online , Thursday 18 Nov 2021

Egypt and Qatar have signed agreements to supply fuel and basic construction materials to the Gaza Strip, the Qatari Foreign Ministry said following a ministerial meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) in Oslo on Wednesday evening.

Sameh Shoukry   Sultan Al-Muraikhi
Combined image of Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Qatar s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan Al-Muraikhi. Al-Ahram

"These collaborative efforts will contribute to improving living conditions [in Gaza]," Qatar's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan Al-Muraikhi said at the meeting which brought together international donors for the Palestinians.

Al-Muraikhi's speech was light on the details of the agreements. Thus far, Egypt has not released a statement. 

The AHLC was established in 1993 following the Oslo I Accord. Its main aim is to develop an institutional and economic basis for a future Palestinian state based on a negotiated two-state solution.

During his virtual participation in Oslo's AHLC meeting on Wednesday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry requested an “integrated vision” to fulfil the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people, reconstruct the Strip, and ease the economic crisis in the Palestinian territories.

In Gaza, which has been under Israeli siege for 14 years, poverty and unemployment rates are soaring. Israel's onslaught on Gaza in May increased the enclave's suffering, badly damaging much of its infrastructure.

The World Bank said the war caused up to $190 million in economic losses, in a territory where unemployment already hovered around 50 percent. Over 4,000 homes were demolished or partially damaged, according to the World Bank.

The economic crisis in the Palestinian territories has aggravated on the heels of the recent Israeli war on Gaza, the COVID-19 pandemic, and delays in the payment of salaries by the Palestinian Authority.

Following the mediation of a ceasefire between the Israeli and Palestinian sides to end the May war, Egypt allocated $500 million to reconstruct the Strip. Egypt has also dispatched massive engineering equipment and crews to participate in the Gaza Strip reconstruction alongside tonnes of humanitarian aid.

The World Bank has estimated that rebuilding Gaza after the latest devastating war will cost up to $485 million.

In recent months, Israel has stiffened restrictions on the enclave, barring entry of construction materials and fuel. According to media reports, several challenges now face Gaza's reconstruction given the complicated political conditions.

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