CAIRO, 20 November 2023 (TDI): European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo on Saturday to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
During the meeting, President von der Leyen expressed her opposition to the forced displacement of Palestinians. She appreciated Egypt for its crucial role in providing and facilitating humanitarian aid to vulnerable Palestinians.
The discussions between the two leaders focused on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and emphasized the importance of a political horizon based on a two-state solution. She added that Israel’s ongoing military campaign in the Gaza Strip started after the October 7 Hamas attacks.
President von der Leyen extended her gratitude to Egypt for ensuring humanitarian access to and from Gaza via the Rafah border crossing, describing it as a lifeline for the people in Gaza. She also highlighted the collaborative efforts between the European Union, Egyptian authorities, and UNRWA in addressing the crisis.
Team Europe was acknowledged as the largest aid donor to the Palestinian people. President von der Leyen personally handed over EU aid to the Egyptian Red Crescent during the visit. The aid delivery was made possible through effective cooperation with Egyptian authorities and UNRWA.
Following the meeting in Cairo, von der Leyen arrived in North Sinai for the arrival of a European Union humanitarian convoy. The visit included an inspection of the Rafah border crossing and a visit to wounded Palestinians in North Sinai.
The statement from the governor of the Egyptian border region confirmed the ongoing international aid efforts, with shipments arriving at the international airport in El-Arish, located 40 kilometers from the Rafah crossing.
She visited Egypt in 2022 and signed a deal between Israel, Egypt, and the EU for natural gas supply. She emphasized Egypt’s strategic location and the potential for future collaboration, particularly in the energy sector, including hydrogen production.
The issue of migration was also mentioned as part of the agenda during President von der Leyen’s visit, showcasing the multifaceted nature of discussions between the European Union and Egypt.