CAIRO (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that the Egyptian-controlled border crossing into Gaza would reopen and that the United States was working with Egypt, Israel and the United Nations to get aid through it.
Hundreds of tons of aid have been waiting from several countries in the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula for days, awaiting an agreement to be safely delivered to Gaza and the evacuation of some foreign passport holders through the Rafah crossing.
Egypt said it had intensified diplomatic efforts to break the stalemate.
“We have provided, Egypt has provided a lot of material support to people in Gaza, and the Rafah crossing will be reopened,” Blinken told reporters in Cairo after what he described as a “very good conversation” with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah. Sisi.
He added: “We are developing – with the United Nations, with Egypt, with Israel, and with others – the mechanism through which assistance is introduced and delivered to the people who need it.”
The United States on Sunday appointed veteran diplomat David Satterfield as special envoy for humanitarian issues in the Middle East to lead the US response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Sisi told Blinken, who is on a tour of the Middle East, that Israel responded disproportionately by launching its heaviest strikes ever in response to the devastating October 7 Hamas incursion.
Al-Sisi said in a joint appearance that the reaction went beyond the right to self-defense, turning into collective punishment of 2.3 million people in Gaza.
He added that cooperation is necessary to combat extremism, but in the past Jews lived freely in the Middle East.
He added, “There may have been targeting in Europe… and in other countries, but this did not happen in our Arab and Islamic countries.”
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told CNN on Saturday that Israeli bombing on the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing into Egypt, the main crossing out of Gaza that Israel does not control, has hampered its operation.
The United States asked its citizens in Gaza on Saturday to approach the crossing if it is opened.
Shukri added that if foreign nationals are able to cross the border, Egypt will help them return to their homeland.
A statement issued earlier today, Sunday, by Sisi’s office after a National Security Council meeting, said that Egypt rejects any plan to displace Palestinians at the expense of other countries, and that Egypt’s security is a red line.
Like other Arab countries, it said that the Palestinians should remain in their lands and that it was working to deliver aid.
Sisi also proposed hosting a summit to discuss the crisis, according to the statement.
Eight planes carrying aid from Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Tunisia and the World Health Organization have landed at Sinai’s Al-Arish airport in recent days, and a convoy of more than 100 trucks is waiting in the city for permission to enter Gaza. According to the Egyptian Red Crescent.
(Reporting by Mohamed Wali, Omar Abdel Razek, Yousry Mohamed, Humeira Pamuk, Hatem Maher and Ahmed Tolba – Prepared by Mohamed Wali) Writing by Adam Makari, Nafisa Al-Taher and Aidan Lewis. Edited by Louise Heavens, Hugh Lawson, Andrew Cawthorne and Giles Elgood
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