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Egypt Agrees To Open Rafah Crossing To Allow Aid Trucks Into Gaza

Biden was earlier scheduled to meet with Jordan's King Abdullah, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas after first visiting Israel. However, the meeting was cancelled after the Gaza hospital explosion.

Edited By : News24 Desk | Updated: Oct 19, 2023 09:15 IST
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Egypt Agrees To Open Rafah Crossing To Allow Aid Trucks Into Gaza

Egypt’s President Al-Sisi has agreed to open the Rafah border crossing to allow roughly 20 trucks to provide humanitarian aid into Gaza, US President Joe Biden said.

Aboard Air Force One, Biden told reporters that when he took off for Israel, his key goal was to get humanitarian aid into Gaza and ensure there is a vehicle, a mechanism for it to happen quickly.

“And so, I have been on the phone for the last — I don’t know. We’ve been on the ground a while. That’s why we haven’t taken off — with El-Sisi. I don’t think I was on that long. It was about probably half an hour. And both — my team here was with me. And he agreed that what he would do is open the gate — to do two things: one, let up to 20 trucks through to begin with. Satterfield, my ambassador, is down there in — not down there — in Cairo now. He’s going to coordinate this. He has my authority to do what is needed to get it done,” Biden said in a press gaggle on board Air Force 1 at Ramstein base, Germany.

“When we took off, my goal was multifold, but basically to get humanitarian aid into Gaza and to get as many Americans out who wanted to get out — could get out as possible. And so, we got a commitment, as you know, from the — from the Israelis, including the unanimous vote of their war cabinet and the Prime Minister. And the second thing was that I wanted to make sure there was a vehicle, a mechanism, that this could happen quickly,” the US President said.

On being asked if he was talking about Rafah crossing, Biden responded by saying “yes”, and added, “They’re going to patch the road. They have to fill in potholes to get these trucks through. And that’s going to occur; they expect it’ll take about eight hours tomorrow. So, there may be nothing rolling through until — what’s today? I’m losing track of days. Thursday? Wednesday? Probably until Friday.”

Also Read: Gaza Hospital Bombing: Palestine Envoy Claims Proof Of Israel’s Hand

He was further asked by reporters if Sisi agreed to open it up, to which the President said, “Yes. For this purpose. For this purpose. Not to allow a lot of people out, but to open it up for this purpose…for the trucks to be able to get through.”

“But here’s the deal: up to 20 trucks. This has been a very blunt negotiation I’ve had. And so, we want to get as many of the trucks out as possible. There’s, I guess, 150 or something there. Not all of them will go the first tranche. If there’s a second tranche — see how it goes. The commitment is: If, in fact, they cross the border, the U.N. is going to be on the other side distributing this material — offloading it and then distributing it, which is going to take a little time to set up, probably,” Biden said.

“But the — the point being that if the — if Hamas confiscates it or doesn’t let it get through or just confiscates it, then it’s going to end, because we’re not going to be sending any humanitarian aid to Hamas if they’re going to be confiscating it. That’s the commitment that I’ve made. And so, the bottom line is that El-Sisi deserves some real credit because he was very accommodating and, quite frankly, as everyone I’ve spoken to thus far since this trip began,” he added.

According to a White House readout, US President Joe Biden spoke with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on Wednesday and discussed ongoing coordination to deliver humanitarian assistance to Gaza and mechanisms to ensure the aid is distributed for the benefit of the civilian population, the White House said.

The two presidents concurred to cooperate closely in promoting a swift and robust global response to the UN’s plea for humanitarian aid.

“They agreed on the need to preserve stability in the Middle East, prevent escalation of the conflict, and set the circumstances for a durable, permanent peace in the region. The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the enduring, strategic partnership between the United States and Egypt,” the White House said in an official release.

Notably, Biden was earlier scheduled to meet with Jordan’s King Abdullah, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas after first visiting Israel. However, the meeting was cancelled after the Gaza hospital explosion.

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the meeting would be held at a time when the parties could agree to end the “war and the massacres against Palestinians” and blamed Israel with its military campaign for pushing the region to “the brink of the abyss”.

Source: ANI

First published on: Oct 19, 2023 08:48 AM IST

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