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UN chief pays tribute to Egypt's role in avoiding 'dramatic' Gaza escalation

Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres delivers a speech during the Handover Ceremony of the Chairmanship of the Group of 77, from the Egypt to Palestine at the United Nations Headquarter in New York, United States on 15 January 2018 [Atılgan Özdil / Anadolu Agency]
Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres delivers a speech during the Handover Ceremony of the Chairmanship of the Group of 77, from the Egypt to Palestine at the United Nations Headquarter in New York, United States on 15 January 2018 [Atılgan Özdil / Anadolu Agency]

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has praised the role played by Egypt in helping to avoid a "dramatic" escalation in the occupied Gaza Strip and Israel over recent months.

At a press conference in Cairo yesterday, Guterres described Egypt as a "fundamental partner for the UN in relation to peace and security in the region", and described the UN's cooperation with Egypt as an essential aspect of the organisation's work.

According to the UN press release, Guterres added that "Egypt's commitment has created the conditions for more effective humanitarian aid to the region", and is playing an "integral part" in forging unity between the two main Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah.

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The UN chief has been in the Middle East since the weekend, delivering an address at the Arab League in Tunis.

At the Cairo press conference, Guterres "said that everything must be done to guarantee that there will be two states side-by-side, Palestine and Israel, living together in peace and security."

He added "that Egypt and the UN see 'eye to eye' on this issue, and that the UN will continue working with Egypt to achieve that objective."

Egyptian efforts to mediate between Hamas and Fatah have been thus far unsuccessful, but Cairo intelligence officials have played a more fruitful role as a go-between for Hamas officials and the Israeli government.

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EgyptIsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestineUN
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