UN Secretary-General Guterres Calls for Urgent and Sustained Access to Humanitarian Aid for Gaza

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The UN Secretary-General António Guterres said at a press conference in Cairo alongside Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry that the people of Gaza have been deprived of gasoline, food, water, medicine, and other necessities for almost two weeks. Diseases are spreading, and people are dying.

Guterres is in the Middle East to observe UN preparations for aid delivery to the people of Gaza.

On the Egyptian side of the bridge, about 3,000 tonnes of supplies have been sitting there waiting to be transported to Gaza since Saturday. The UN Security Council has since failed to agree on a resolution that would have called for “humanitarian pauses” for aid delivery on Wednesday.

The UN Secretary-General is currently in Cairo in what he called “a moment of profound crisis, unlike any the region has seen in decades,” which has been brought on by the “atrocious” Hamas strikes against Israel on October 7 that led to Israel’s siege and continuous bombing of Gaza.

Guterres urged immediate humanitarian actions amid the humanitarian catastrophe, highlighting the increasing toll on civilians, most of whom are women and children, including journalists, health workers, and UN staff.

He further requested the immediate and unconditional release of hostages from Hamas and immediate, unrestricted access to humanitarian aid to address the basic needs of the people of Gaza and called for a ceasefire to achieve these goals.

The necessity of quick, unhindered humanitarian access to Gaza was emphasised by Mr. Guterres, who stated that “it requires more than one simple action. Humanitarian aid should be delivered to the residents of Gaza over time. That essentially implies that aid must be delivered securely and that humanitarians must be able to get it there.

He stated that Egypt’s El Arish airport and the Rafah crossing, the only ones open into Gaza, are not only critical; they are our only hope” and “the lifelines” for the locals.

Egypt has been praised by the Secretary-General for serving as “a pillar of multilateral cooperation and the linchpin in helping to defuse tensions and to ease colossal human pain and suffering.”

This Saturday, Mr. Guterres is expected to take part in an international summit on Gaza that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi called.

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