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Egypt’s president, UN chief call for continuing funding UN agency for Palestine refugees

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Cairo: Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed on Monday the necessity to keep funding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

During a phone conversation, they also discussed the pivotal role played by the UN and its various organizations in providing support and relief to the people in the war-torn Gaza Strip, the Egyptian presidency said in a statement.

Sisi and Guterres said continuing funding UNRWA would allow the agency to perform its humanitarian role, according to the statement.

As of Monday, Canada, Australia, Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland, Estonia, Japan, Austria and Romania have joined the United States in pausing funding for UNRWA after Israel accused several UNRWA employees of suspected involvement in the Hamas attack on Israel last October.

Their conversation also touched on the overall situation in the Middle East and the danger of expanding the cycle of the ongoing conflict.

They discussed the Egyptian, regional, and international efforts aimed at reaching a ceasefire and deal on the Hamas-Israel hostages-prisoners swap and delivering relief aid to Gaza in large quantities soonest possible.

Israel has been waging a massive military campaign against Hamas in Gaza since Oct. 7, 2023, after the militant group launched a surprise attack on southern Israel, which killed around 1,200 Israelis, according to the Israeli authorities.

The Palestinian death toll from Israeli attacks on Gaza has risen to 26,637 since the onset of the conflict, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said Monday.

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