Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, held a virtual meeting on Monday with Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union (EU), to discuss the developments of the situation in the Gaza Strip.
Ahmed Abu Zeid, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the meeting witnessed frank and detailed discussions on the humanitarian, security, and political aspects of the crisis, and the need for consistent international messages to the Israeli side on the imperative of an immediate ceasefire to protect civilian lives and ensure the full and sustainable delivery of aid to the Palestinian citizens in the Gaza Strip.
Minister Shoukry emphasized the need for the international parties to fulfill their legal, humanitarian, and political responsibilities towards ending the humanitarian disaster in the Strip, and to adopt explicit and clear positions to stop Israeli violations against the Palestinian people, provide the necessary protection for Palestinian civilians, and reject the deliberate Israeli policies of collective punishment against them, such as shelling, siege and forced displacement of the residents of the Strip.
Shoukry and the EU High Representative exchanged extensive assessments on the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza, where Minister Shoukry stressed that the humanitarian shock felt by everyone today, with the number of Palestinian victims exceeding ten thousand, including more than four thousand and eight hundred children within a month, was unacceptable. He added that the indiscriminate targeting of thousands of homes, infrastructure facilities, and other medical centers by the Israeli side was a grave violation of international law and human rights. Shoukry noted that it was imperative for all states and influential international parties to push for an immediate ceasefire and to name Israeli violations against the Gaza Strip unambiguously. He also touched upon the current situation of humanitarian assistance at the Rafah crossing, where he stressed the need to provide the necessary assistance in terms of quantity and quality in a sustainable manner and without obstacles set by the Israeli side. He pointed to the urgent need for donor countries to shoulder their responsibility in assisting, as Egypt and other countries that are not included in the ranks of donor countries are doing. The European official assured him and promised to convey this message to the participating countries at the meeting of the group of seven foreign ministers this week in Japan.
For his part, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy said that the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip was unprecedented by all standards, and required more coordinated efforts to reduce its repercussions on Palestinian civilians. He also praised the role played by Egypt in dealing with the repercussions of the crisis and the delivery of aid to the Gaza Strip, stressing the keenness of the European side to continue consultations with Egypt during the coming period on the developments of the crisis.