Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Norwegian counterpart Børge Brende discussed regional matters on Tuesday, including a conference on the reconstruction of Gaza in October, which the two countries are co-organising.
Shoukry and Brende discussed bilateral ties and ways to strengthen them – specifically economic and trade aspects, a statement by Egypt’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday. Shoukry addressed economic measures the Egyptian government has recently taken to provide a favourable climate for investment. Meanwhile Brende stressed the importance of supporting the Egyptian economy.
The two ministers discussed preparations for the international conference which will be hosted in Cairo on 12 October, “with the purpose of alleviating the suffering of Palestinians in the [Gaza] strip and rebuilding what was destroyed by the recent war,” a statement by Egypt’s foreign ministry said.
The conference is being organised in coordination with the Palestinian National Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas.
Shoukry and Brende addressed developments in Libya and the efforts concentrated on restoring security and stability to the restive country. Shoukry addressed the Egyptian initiative on Libya, which was adopted by foreign ministers of countries neighbouring Libya, in a meeting in Cairo last month.
The two foreign ministers “extensively” discussed terrorism and stressed the risks it puts on security and stability in the world. The two sides agreed on the need for regional and international concerted efforts to confront terrorism.
Brende arrived in Cairo on Tuesday after visiting Gaza where he said the “massive destruction underscores the need for reconstruction and a permanent political solution”. He is the first international leader to visit the strip after the war, the Norwegian national news agency NTB reported.
On Monday morning, he held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He was received by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at his residence in Jordan on Monday evening.
When Brende initially announced the conference on 18 August, he said Abbas will be the recipient of the aid, adding it is “his [Abbas’s] unity government of technocrats who should be responsible for the reconstruction”.
On 7 July, Israel launched a military operation titled “Protective Edge” with the aim of stopping “Hamas rocket fire into Israel”. It ended with an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire on 26 August, leaving the densely populated strip with 18,000 homes completely destroyed and 41,000 partially destroyed, according to figures announced earlier this week by Abbas.
On Sunday, Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Pierre Krähenbühl said Sunday, there is a “crying need for financial support” in Gaza and added that $47m is needed in the next four weeks to help make conditions in Gaza “just about bearable” pending full reconstruction.
The Israeli military operation in Gaza left 2,149 dead, including 942 women and children.