From the news desk

GOTG making diplomatic progress

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Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman says things are moving fast in their diplomatic efforts to get into Gaza via the Rafah border in Egypt and a medical mission could leave soon. The humanitarian relief NGO has received support from the Presidency and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO).

The relief organization have been in contact with authorities in Egypt for authorization to have the Rafah border opened, in order to assist those in need of humanitarian assistance and medical care in the besieged region. Gaza has been bombarded by the Israeli military for over three weeks with more than 800 people killed.

“It actually started off on Monday when I contacted DIRCO and the deputy minister then instructed her desk to apply all urgency to the issue of taking aid to Gaza from GOTG,” said Sooliman.

He then met with the Egyptian ambassador on Tuesday, followed by a meeting with the Palestinian ambassador to discuss matters further.

“Early on Thursday morning, DIRCO contacted me and stated that the matter has been given the highest priority and that President Jacob Zuma is involved as well.”

Sooliman said that the South African ambassador in Egypt was asked go to the Egyptian government inside Cairo and at 12:30 on Thursday the Egyptian ambassador, the members of the Middle East desk along with Sooliman and his crew were discussing the requirements.

“We fleshed out what the requirements are, what has to be done and what we want. The application had to done by DIRCO on behalf of us, as it has to be government to government,” said Sooliman.

GOTG has specialist medical teams, emergency equipment and medical supplies. Medical personnel specific to the situation are being selected from the overwhelming response of 120 volunteers who have responded to this mission.

“The name of the medical team who will be joining us, their names has also been submitted. We are looking at a heading up a charter flight with medical supplies and equipment,” added Sooliman. VOC (Imogen Vollenhoven)

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