De Croo holds press conference at Rafah border crossing urging an end to violence
Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo visited the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip on Friday afternoon. Trucks loaded with aid are queued up for kilometres but have not been able to cross the border. De Croo and his Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez are calling for a swift change in this situation.
There are said to be more than 1,000 trucks from international organisations and countries like the United Arab Emirates waiting near the Egyptian city of El Arish. Their destination is Rafah, the only crossing point with Gaza through which humanitarian aid has entered the Gaza Strip in recent months, albeit in limited quantities.
De Croo was at the border crossing on Friday as the temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas went into effect as part of a deal that includes hostage exchange and aid delivery to Gaza.
De Croo and Sanchez, on a visit to the region, held a joint press conference in Rafah. They called for aid to be able to cross the border as soon as possible while expressing an understanding of Israeli security requirements.
During the press conference, the leaders pushed for a continuous exchange of aid and hostages, hoping the temporary ceasefire could evolve into a permanent agreement. Sanchez expressed hope for the international community to recognise Palestine as a state. He made it clear that he prefers a joint European approach, but if that fails, Spain will take steps on its own. De Croo focused on pushing to end Israeli violence in Gaza, deliver aid and secure the release of the Israeli hostages by Hamas.
De Croo also met Belgian Red Cross employees involved in evacuating Belgians and their families from Gaza. In the past week, 97 Belgians have been able to leave the area. De Croo, who is due to return to Belgium this evening, will receive them at Melsbroek military airport on Friday.
Prime minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez and Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo hold a press conference at Rafah © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK