Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with his counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Palestine, Turkey, and Indonesia, the Secretary General of the Arab League, and the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Wednesday in New York. They also met with Wang Yi, the Foreign Minister of China, who is the current president of the UN Security Council.
The meeting was part of the efforts of the Ministerial Committee, which was formed by the decision of the Arab-Islamic summit, to end the war on Gaza. The meeting took place before the Security Council briefing session, which was convened by China at the ministerial level, to discuss the situation in the Gaza Strip.
Ahmed Abu Zeid, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the foreign ministers appreciated China’s invitation to hold a briefing on the situation in Gaza, given the critical moment that the Palestinian issue is facing. He said that they hoped that China could play a role in resolving the conflict.
The foreign ministers urged the Security Council to intervene and impose a ceasefire to prevent more casualties, instead of just calling on Israel to respect international law and humanitarian law. They also reviewed the efforts of the Egyptian-Qatari-American mediation to reach a temporary humanitarian truce agreement in Gaza.
The ministers also emphasized that the Security Council had a new opportunity to fulfill its responsibility of maintaining international peace and security by enforcing the implementation of the resolution that it issued last November, as well as adopting the draft resolution submitted by the Arab and Islamic groups to improve the access of aid to the Gaza Strip and overcome the obstacles imposed by Israel. They also expressed their categorical rejection of the displacement of the people of the Gaza Strip, whether inside or outside the strip or the creation of buffer zones in the north of the strip.
The ministers also expressed their hope that the permanent members of the Security Council would push for a serious political process that would lead to the end of the occupation and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within a specified time frame, as the only way that could contribute to achieving security and stability in the Middle East and serve the interests of both sides.
In his speech during the meeting, Minister Shoukry expressed his gratitude for China’s positions in support of Arab and Islamic rights, and defending international legitimacy and principles. He also relied on China’s presidency and its permanent membership in the Security Council to support the Arab and Islamic moves to achieve a permanent and unconditional ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. He reviewed the cooperative efforts between Egypt and Qatar to extend and complete the temporary humanitarian truce agreement in the Gaza Strip.
He also stressed the aspiration for China’s support for the implementation of the Security Council resolution that called for a truce and humanitarian corridors in the Gaza Strip, which has not been activated or respected so far. He also looked forward to China’s support for the adoption of the Arab/ Islamic draft resolution before the Security Council to enhance humanitarian access to the Strip, pointing out that it was a humanitarian draft resolution and not a political one.
Minister Shoukry called on the internationally active countries, especially the permanent members of the Security Council, to pressure Israel to stop the policies of collective punishment in the Gaza Strip, which aim to push the residents of the Strip to leave their lands and displace them outside the Strip to settle the Palestinian issue.
He emphasized the need for effective measures to prevent the displacement of Palestinians from their land, not just rejection and condemnation, especially as Israel continues its policies to expand settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, ignoring the international community’s opposition to these policies.
The ministers also met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday, where they expressed their deep appreciation for his role since the beginning of the war on Gaza in containing the crisis and stopping the bloodshed, as well as for his strong positions demanding the respect of international legitimacy, law, and humanitarian law, and the cessation of the serious Israeli violations against the Palestinian people.
The ministers also praised his position calling for reviving the peace process on the right basis by addressing the root and historical causes of the conflict and implementing the vision of a two-state solution and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
The UN Secretary-General, for his part, commended the Egyptian-Qatari mediation efforts that contributed to reaching the temporary humanitarian truce agreement, as well as efforts to extend it for two more days. He said that the UN would continue to support these efforts in every possible way.
He also stressed the importance of building on this agreement to achieve a complete ceasefire for humanitarian purposes and expressed the readiness of the UN to implement any mandate issued by the Security Council to address the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.