World should make immediate Gaza ceasefire a priority - regional foreign ministers
There must be an immediate end to the fighting in Gaza, but governments worldwide do not seem to see it as a priority, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister said on Friday in Washington, adding that there must also be a credible roadmap to establish a Palestinian State, Reuters reports.
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Our message is consistent and clear that we believe that it is absolutely necessary to end the fighting immediately
Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal Bin Farhan, said.
“One of the disturbing facts of this conflict is that ending the conflict and the fighting doesn’t seem to be the main priority for the world,” he said.
Humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza needed to be significantly increased, he said, adding that it is “unacceptable” that aid “is being restricted and has been restricted” because of “bureaucratic obstacles”.
A UN Security Council vote on a demand for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Palestine war was delayed by several hours on Friday until after Blinken’s planned meeting with Arab ministers and the Foreign Minister of Turkiye. The Arab-Islamic Ministerial Committee comprises ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, Palestinian Authority and Turkiye.
The United States – a veto-wielding power on the Council – has said it does not currently support further action by the 15-member body on the conflict. The Council, last month, called for pauses in fighting to allow aid access.
The United States and Israel oppose a ceasefire because they believe it would only benefit Hamas. Washington, instead, supports pauses in fighting to protect civilians and allow the release of hostages taken by Hamas in a deadly 7 October attack on Israel.
In response to the attack, Israel has bombarded Gaza and sent in troops in what it says is an operation to destroy Hamas.
Deputy US Ambassador to the UN, Robert Wood, told the Council that while the United States strongly supports a durable peace in Gaza, “we do not support calls for an immediate ceasefire.”