Egypt calls for immediate cessation of strikes on Gaza urging for humanitarian access

Ahram Online , Tuesday 10 Oct 2023

Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry called for immediate cessation of the continuous Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip, in phone calls with three European foreign ministers on Monday.

Gaza City
A fireball erupts from an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on October 9, 2023. AFP

 

Shoukry’s calls come while Egypt has intensified its contacts with world leaders as well as the Palestinian and Israeli sides to achieve de-escalation in Gaza amid heavy Israeli air strikes, the deadliest on the strip in years.

The air strikes came after Israel has announced a “state of war” when Hamas fighters launched a surprise attack on Israeli cities on Saturday, killing around 1,000 Israelis so far and taking others as hostages.

The Israeli forces have sealed off Gaza from food, fuel, and basic supplies, triggering fears of massive deterioration of an already-dire humanitarian situation in the strip.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has called for creating humanitarian corridors to deliver food to Gaza amid the Israeli assaults.

Shoukry warned against Israel’s targeting of civilian constructions and facilities and obstruction of basic services and relief materials to residents of the Gaza Strip, in his calls with foreign ministers of Norway, Slovenia, and Portugal.

He also stressed that the international community has no way but to work on ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once and for all based on the international legitimacy resolutions.

Minister Shoukry called on the international community to create a suitable political horizon to reach this goal.

He briefed the European ministers on Egypt’s efforts for ending Palestinian-Israeli escalation and urging both parties to prioritize calm and exercise utmost restraint.

Shoukry and the European ministers agreed to continue coordinating efforts in order to achieve calm and restore security and stability.

Furthermore, he called for stopping endangering civilians’ lives in Gaza and for securing the delivery of humanitarian aid, in a phone call with UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland.

Shoukry also made a phone call with Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner-general of the UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, to coordinate on regularity of services and humanitarian aid provided to the Gaza Strip.

A controversy was raised within the European Union yesterday after both Austria and the European Commission announced suspending aid to Palestine, while Germany debated on Sunday whether it should stop aid to Palestinians.

However, the European Commission seems to reverse the announcement made by its Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi, saying on Monday that there will be no suspension of payments.

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