Egypt says displacement is unacceptable, but will deal with civilians humanely

By Thomson Reuters Feb 17, 2024 | 1:40 PM

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s foreign minister said on Saturday that while his country would deal with civilians humanely, the displacement of Palestinians remained unacceptable.

“It is not our intention to provide any safe areas or facilities, but necessarily if this was a case we will deal with the humanity that is necessary,” Sameh Shoukry said at the Munich Security Conference.

Reuters reported on Friday that Egypt was preparing an area at the Gaza border which could accommodate Palestinians in case an Israeli military offensive into Rafah prompts an exodus across the frontier. Sources described this as a contingency move.

Egypt has repeatedly denied making such preparations.

“This is very hypothetical. We have constantly been dealing with maintenance on our border so I think it is jumping to conclusions to what those activities constitute,” Shoukry said of construction activity seen around the border.

Separately, the governor of North Sinai said on Saturday that the armed forces are establishing a logistics zone to receive aid for Gaza.

The area being established includes parking areas for trucks, warehouses, administrative offices, and accommodation for drivers, the governor said.

Egypt has repeatedly raised the alarm over the possibility that Israel’s devastating Gaza offensive could displace Palestinians into Sinai – something Cairo says would be completely unacceptable- echoing warnings from Arab states such as Jordan.

(Reporting by Jon Irish, writing by Sarah El Safty, Editing by Angus MacSwan)