CAIRO, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry held phone talks on Saturday with his Norwegian counterpart Espen Barth Eide, discussing the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip and the challenges facing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
The two ministers stressed "the importance of mobilizing resources and international support to intensify the delivery of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip as soon as possible and remove impediments hindering its flow into the Strip," the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
They agreed to continue consultation and coordination "to support efforts aimed at containing the crisis and curbing its humanitarian repercussions on the Palestinian people."
Shoukry and Barth Eide also addressed the challenges facing UNRWA in carrying out its relief tasks following the decision of a number of states to suspend their funding to the agency, "which would further exacerbate the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip."
The two top diplomats emphasized the key role played by UNRWA in distributing aid in Gaza and dealing with various aspects of the humanitarian crisis in the besieged Palestinian enclave.
A number of UNRWA donors, including Canada, Australia, Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland, Estonia, Japan, Austria and Romania, have recently joined the United States in pausing funding for UNRWA after Israel accused several employees of the agency of involvement in the attack of Gaza-ruling Hamas on southern Israel on Oct. 7 last year.
On Saturday, the Norwegian foreign minister wrote on social media platform X that "we cannot abandon the Palestinian people. Norway stands fast to our commitments. I urge fellow donor countries to reflect on the wider consequences of cutting UNRWA off."
Since the Hamas attack on Israel, which killed about 1,200 according to Israeli reports, on Oct. 7, 2023, Gaza has been under massive Israeli siege and bombardment that have killed so far 27,238 Palestinians and injured 66,452 others, according to Gaza-based Health Ministry on Saturday. ■