Egypt and France’s foreign ministers on Monday, called for the delivery of humanitarian aid and the exit of foreign nationals from the bombarded Gaza Strip, on the tenth day of war between Israel and Hamas.
While calling for the opening of crossing points, the French foreign minister, Catherine Colonna said, “Those who want to leave Gaza must be able to do so.”
Egypt controls the Rafah border crossing, the only passage in and out of Gaza not controlled by Israel.
A US official Saturday, said Egypt and Israel had reached an agreement for American citizens to leave through Rafah, AFP reports.
But Cairo’s top diplomat Sameh Shoukry told reporters on Monday, that Egypt had “repeated its request to Israeli authorities for humanitarian aid to pass through”.
Shoukry said there was “nothing new, which is a dangerous matter considering the new needs that the Palestinian people in Gaza are being exposed to”.
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement Monday that “there is currently no ceasefire and humanitarian aid in Gaza in return for removing foreigners”.
By Monday afternoon, the crossing remained closed, locking convoys of aid on one side of the border, and fleeing Palestinians and foreigners on the other, according to AFP.
The UN has repeatedly warned of the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, where Israel has declared a “complete siege”, cutting off basic supplies to the territory’s 2.4 million people.
Since October 7, some 2,750 people in Gaza have been killed by Israeli air strikes, launched in retaliation for a Hamas militant attack that killed 1,400 in Israel.
According to the United Nations, a million people have been displaced inside Gaza, where Colonna said “civilians must be protected and their essential needs met”.
As diplomatic overtures yield little success, Colonna said on Monday that Paris “welcomes Egypt’s initiative” for an international summit on the conflict.
She said it would “show that there is a political horizon that can take into account Israel’s right to security and the Palestinians’ right to a state”.
Egypt was the first Arab state to forge a peace deal with Israel in 1979 and has historically played a key role in mediating between Israeli and Palestinian officials, particularly during conflicts with Hamas.
Colonna said Monday that the “weight of the conflict must not fall on Egypt”, which has been called on to accept refugees from Gaza.
Cairo has rejected the call, warning of a fresh forced displacement of Palestinians and instead urging restraint and diplomatic efforts for de-escalation.