Shoukry, Borell reiterate rejection of Israeli operations in Rafah

Ahram Online , Sunday 28 Apr 2024

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry and Josep Borrell, high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy, reaffirmed on Sunday their complete rejection of any Israeli ground military operation in the Palestinian city of Rafah.

Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry meets with Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum held in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on 28 April 2024. Photo: Egyptian Foreign Ministry


During a meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum held in the Saudi capital Riyadh, Shoukry emphasized the importance of the EU and other international parties exerting pressure on Israel to prevent such an operation, halt any efforts to forcibly displace Palestinians, or liquidate the Palestinian cause.

According to the foreign ministry, the meeting touched on the latest developments in the Middle East, especially the war in the Gaza Strip, where both sides had in-depth discussions on the security and humanitarian situation.

They also exchanged assessments of the war as well as the outcomes of their communications with various regional and international parties to put an end to the war and humanitarian suffering.

Furthermore, the top Egyptian diplomat highlighted the importance of the EU official creating a robust and unified European stance toward the war; urging a ceasefire; and calling on Israel to remove obstacles to aid and avoid taking unilateral actions in Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem.

In addition, Shoukry also expressed Cairo's reliance on the EU to foster a meaningful political process for a comprehensive resolution of the Palestinian cause based on the two-state solution, underscoring the importance of working towards achieving a ceasefire alongside implementing the two-state solution.

For his part, the top EU official was keen to hear from Shoukry the latest developments in the ongoing negotiations between Hamas and Israel to achieve an immediate ceasefire and exchange of detainees, as well as ensure access to humanitarian aid into the strip.

On Saturday, Hamas said it was studying the latest Israeli counterproposal regarding a potential ceasefire in Gaza, a day after a delegation from mediator Egypt reportedly arrived in Israel in a bid to jump-start stalled negotiations.

Borell further affirmed the EU's support for Egypt's pivotal role and efforts towards halting the war in the Gaza Strip and containing its repercussions, expressing full readiness to engage effectively in any efforts aimed at stopping this brutal war.

Both sides also agreed to continue close consultations to push towards ending the war in the Gaza Strip and launching a serious and effective political process leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on 1967 borders.

On Saturday, Shoukry headed to Riyadh to participate in the World Economic Forum (WEF) alongside Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said.

Israel, whose brutal war on the Gaza Strip has continued for over six months, faces growing international pressure to agree to a ceasefire in Gaza.

The Israeli army has killed, to date, 34,454 and wounded 77,575 since 7 October, most of whom are women and children.

Since the outbreak of the war, Egypt has been pushing for a ceasefire and sustained access to humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of the civilians in Gaza.

Egypt-EU relations

According to the foreign affairs ministry, Shoukry and Borell welcomed the recent signing of the Joint Declaration on the Strategic and Comprehensive Partnership between Egypt and the EU in Cairo last month.

They also emphasized the importance of permanent and high-level coordination on various international and regional issues, expressing their aspiration to continue dialogue.

In March, Cairo hosted the European-Egyptian Summit,  bringing together President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and heads of state and government from Belgium, Cyprus, Italy, Greece, and Austria.

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