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Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Iceland’s delegation in Cairo has concluded its work

Today, 72 Palestinians from Gaza with residence permit in Iceland have arrived in Iceland to be reunited with their families. Their passage from Gaza across the Rafah border, which requires approval from the Egyptian and Israeli governments, was facilitated by a delegation from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs that had been operating in Egypt since 10 February.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bjarni Benediktsson, further requested assistance on this issue from his Israeli counterpart, Israel Katz, in a telephone call on 28 February. Following their discussions, the group was allowed to leave Gaza on 4 March, when they were escorted across the border by the Icelandic delegation, before being flown to Iceland.

Under Icelandic law, consular services are not generally extended to residence permit holders but in view of the situation in the region a decision was made on 6 February to launch a one-off operation, which does not set a precedent or excess pressure on the Icelandic system. In line with this decision, a request was made to Egyptian and Israeli authorities to allow for the passage of Palestinians in Gaza who had been granted a residency permit in Iceland by 1 February. 

The work of the delegation is now concluded in the region, but the situation continues to be monitored.


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