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Statement by Johan Forssell

Nordic statement on the opening of the port of Ashdod and the Erez crossing 12 April 2024


The Nordic countries welcome the Israeli government’s announcement that life-saving humanitarian assistance to Gaza can be received in the port of Ashdod, that the Erez crossing will be reopened to facilitate entry to north Gaza, and that humanitarian assistance from Jordan entering through Kerem Shalom crossing in the south will be increased.

The positive announcement needs to be followed by tangible action. There is an urgent need to ensure that adequate volumes of aid reach civilians in all parts of Gaza in a predictable and continuous way. International humanitarian law requires both parties to conflict to ensure that affected populations receive the necessary humanitarian aid, as well as to ensure the safety of humanitarian workers. Humanitarian actors have the capacity to move the minimum requirement of 500 trucks needed each day. It will be crucial to deliver humanitarian assistance at this level. The establishment of a Humanitarian Coordination and Deconfliction Cell within the IDF is positive and reflects the need to better protect humanitarians in Gaza.  

Administrative procedures, including screening processes, must be swift so that the volume needed can enter as quickly as possible. This includes allowing humanitarian aid now languishing in Amman and at various crossings to enter both through Erez, Kerem Shalom and additional crossings.

Israeli authorities must engage with humanitarian actors to allow and facilitate neutral, impartial and independent UN-led humanitarian action by UN agencies, including UNRWA, as well as ICRC and other relevant organisations.

Dan Jørgensen, Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy, Denmark

Ville Tavio Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Finland

Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Iceland

Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Minister of International Development, Norway

Johan Forssell, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Sweden