Egyptian, Norwegian FMs discuss latest developments in Palestinian scene

Ahram Online , Saturday 22 May 2021

The Norwegian foreign minister hailed Egypt's role and efforts that led to a ceasefire between the Israelis and Palestinians

Egyptian, Norwegian FMs
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry; Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide (Photo courtesy of Egyptian foreign ministry)

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry discussed, on Saturday and over phone, the latest developments in the Palestinian scene with his Norwegian counterpart Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide.

In a statement, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Hafez stated that the Norwegian foreign minister hailed the Egyptian role and Egypt's efforts that led to a ceasefire between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Egypt brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Palestine, which was also lauded by regional and international countries. The ceasefire came into effect early on Friday, ending 11 days of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip. The aggression left more than 250 Palestinians dead, hundreds injured and homeless, while tens of residential and commercial buildings were shelled by Israeli air strikes.

The escalation had sparked on 10 May when Israel cracked down on Palestinian demonstrators protesting against Israel’s plan to forcibly expel Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah district in East Jerusalem.

Hafez added that both top diplomats exchanged views regarding the latest developments on the Palestinian arena and the ongoing efforts to stabilise calm between the two sides. He also stressed the importance of providing the appropriate atmosphere to quickly revive the peace process of attempting to reach a comprehensive political settlement in accordance to the relevant international decisions.

Egypt, for a while, has been supporting the two-state solution with the establishment of an independent Palestinian state based on the borders of 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Hafez said that their talks also tackled the reconstruction process in the Gaza Strip.

On 18 May, El-Sisi announced the allocation of $500 million as part of an Egyptian initiative for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip – with the involvement of Egyptian companies. The allocation comes in where tens of buildings have been destroyed leaving hundreds of Palestinians homeless in the enclave due to the Israeli aggression of the 11-day heavy air strikes that caused the death of more than 250 Palestinians.

The top diplomats also touched upon the efforts providing aid and development support to the rest of the Palestinian territories, especially with the important role that Norway plays within the framework of the AD HOC LIAISON COMMITTEE (AHLC), the statement said.

The AHLC, which is chaired by Norway and co-sponsored by the EU and the US, serves as the principal policy-level coordination mechanism for development assistance to the occupied Palestinian territory, seeking to promote dialogue between donors, the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel.

The two foreign ministers also discussed means to enhance bilateral relations between Egypt and Norway, Hafez concluded.

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