Monday, April 22, 2024

Govt commits $6m in humanitarian assistance to Gaza, Sudan

Foreign Minister, Winston Peters has announced $6 million in humanitarian assistance to those affected by conflict in Gaza and Sudan.

In announcing the assistance during his visit to Egypt, Mr Peters said there were “huge and urgent humanitarian needs” in both Gaza and Sudan, and it was important that New Zealand continued to make its contribution to international efforts to meet them.

On a visit to Cairo, during which he has met Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry (pictured, below) and Arab League Secretary General, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Minister Peters announced New Zealand would commit: $2 million to the United Nations 2720 Mechanism for Gaza, which prioritises, accelerates and maximises the impact of aid flows into Gaza to help meet urgent needs; and $4 million to support lifesaving humanitarian protection and assistance for conflict-affected Sudanese communities in Sudan and its neighbouring countries, including Egypt.

Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry.

“My discussions in Cairo with the Egyptian Government and the Arab League have underscored the urgency of coordinated international action to push for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and ensure a rapid, massive and sustained increase in humanitarian assistance reaching civilians in desperate need,” Mr Peters said.

“New Zealand stands with Egypt, the Arab League and the overwhelming consensus of the international community in calling on all parties to comply with last week’s UNSC resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire.”

Mr Peters said his visit to Cairo had underscored that New Zealand’s warm and constructive relationship with Egypt was a cornerstone of its approach to the Middle East and North Africa.

“In 2024, New Zealand and Egypt celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations and it’s an honour to be in Cairo to mark the anniversary. My discussions with Foreign Minister Shoukry were seriously valuable, and we deeply appreciate Egypt’s insights on regional security issues, including the Israel-Hamas conflict, the Red Sea and Sudan,” he said.

“Egypt is also an important trading partner, our second largest market in Africa with two-way trade worth more than $350 million a year.

“We also appreciated the opportunity to visit the Arab League headquarters, and hold discussions with Secretary General Aboul Gheit to gain a richer understanding of the broader Arab world’s priorities and perspectives, including when it comes to achieving a sustainable, two-state solution.”

Today’s announcement of $2 million support via the UN 2720 Mechanism for Gaza brings to $17 million the total humanitarian assistance that New Zealand has extended to address urgent humanitarian needs in relation to the Israel-Hamas conflict since the events of October 2023.

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