Egypt’s FM, UN senior humanitarian Gaza coordinator discuss ongoing war in Palestine

Ahram Online , Tuesday 16 Jan 2024

Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry received the UN Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza Sigrid Kaag on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip.

Sameh Shoukry    Sigrid Kaag
Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry during his meeting with the UN Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza Sigrid Kaag on Tuesday 16 January, 2024. Photo courtesy of Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

Kaag's visit to the region, the first since her appointment on 26 December 2023 under Security Council Resolution 2720, aims to facilitate, coordinate, and monitor the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

During their meeting, Kaag and Shoukry addressed the dire humanitarian conditions in Gaza, focusing on assessments related to the deterioration of service and humanitarian entities' operations in the region, according to the ministry’s statement.

Both sides emphasized the need to increase humanitarian aid flow to Gaza to meet the urgent population needs, emphasizing support for the continuous operation of service facilities, hospitals, and relief agencies to provide services to the Palestinian people. 

Shoukry affirmed Egypt's support for Kaag’s role, ensuring facilitation for her duties including the swift launch of a UN mechanism to expedite the dispatch of humanitarian aid shipments to Gaza. 

However, he stressed Israel's responsibility to remove these obstacles and cooperate in expediting aid entry into the strip and ending the deteriorating humanitarian situation. 

Furthermore, Shoukry reiterated Egypt's steadfast commitment to ensuring sustained delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza, despite the deliberate obstacles imposed by Israel.

He highlighted the Security Council's responsibility in implementing the resolution and facilitating the use of all available routes to and from Gaza.

Shoukry said achieving a ceasefire is the optimal way to end this humanitarian crisis.

On Tuesday, Israeli officials denied hindering aid delivery, saying the UN needs to provide more workers and trucks.

Despite their denial of hindering aid delivery, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasized the challenge of delivering aid, stating that the UN and its partners “cannot effectively deliver humanitarian aid while Gaza is under such heavy, widespread and unrelenting bombardment.”

He described the deaths of 152 UN staffers in Gaza since the start of the Israeli war there as “the largest single loss of life in the history of our organization.”

Meanwhile, Kaag expressed appreciation for Egypt's efforts in providing humanitarian aid to Gaza, commending diplomatic initiatives and facilitation of the Rafah crossing for UN relief agencies. 

She affirmed her commitment to continued coordination and consultation with Egypt, with plans to visit Arish Airport and the Rafah crossing on 17 January, contributing to the launch of the UN mechanism expediting aid entry into Gaza.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the death toll of Palestinians killed by Israel in Gaza has reached 24,285, with 61,154 reported injuries.

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