Ceasefire, End To Forced Displacement Top Priority: PM

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Irfan Bukhari | The Peninsula

Doha, Qatar: Strongly condemning massacre of civilians in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani urged the international community to adhere to its foundations in respecting international law, conventions and treaties.

Addressing a joint press conference with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy H E Josep Borrell, the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs said:“During our meeting today, we discussed ways of cooperation between the State of Qatar and the European Union to reach a lasting and peaceful solution to this crisis in all its political and humanitarian dimensions."

To a question regarding a possible deal for release of hostages, he said:“I think that I am now more confident that we are close enough to reach a deal that can bring the people safely back to their homes.”

He said there were still some logistical and practical challenges in the negotiations. He said the (hostage exchange) negotiations had been going through ups and downs over the last few weeks.

“Our top priority is to achieve an immediate ceasefire and end all reprisal operations and indiscriminate attacks on the Gaza Strip - an end to genocide, starvation, and forced displacement, and lifting the unjust siege imposed on the Gaza Strip for many years, in flagrant violation of international law and humanitarian law and norms.”

The Prime Minister said that the world today is witnessing the occupation army blatantly boasting of their destruction of hospitals; their forced evacuations of the sick, the wounded, of doctors, and the internally displaced at gunpoint, while justifying all of this with unproven allegations.

The Prime Minister said,“Unfortunately, in the past few days, we have seen attacks on all hospitals in the Gaza Strip, and we have also seen their farcical performances around these hospitals, claiming that they are command centres and locations for Hamas.”

He added: "What happened in the medical complex in the Gaza Strip, Al Shifa Complex, which is considered the largest medical complex in Gaza, from the forced evacuations of hundreds of patients, dozens of newborns, and medical staff, along with the thousands of displaced people, is considered a crime. Unfortunately, we have not seen the international community speak up to condemn it. There is also a continuation of massacres against civilians, the most recent of which was the massacre that took place yesterday at Al Fakhoora School, run by a United Nations agency, in a manner that shows no respect for laws or international norms.”

Of course, he said, the international community must take a stand and deal with this issue in accordance with international laws and norms.“Unfortunately, we see that there is a double standard among many countries regarding what is happening now to our brothers in Gaza. We demand here, at least, that the international community adhere to its foundations in respecting international law, respecting international conventions and treaties, in addition to respecting and protecting civilians in the Gaza Strip, as is the case for civilians anywhere else in the world.”

“We appreciate the High Representative of the European Union for his call for a humanitarian truce and call on Israel to comply with the Security Council resolution and, of course, implement its provisions of opening humanitarian corridors and stopping the war.”

He said that civilians are civilians, whether they are from the Israeli side or the Palestinian side.“As we mentioned on several occasions, our focus is to make sure that it is happening safely. And there are also the humanitarian issues of the Gaza Strip to be addressed in that deal.”

“The efforts are still ongoing. And we have to communicate with both parties, whether it's with the Israelis or with Hamas. And we see there is a good progress, especially in the last few days.”

“Most importantly is to see humanitarian aid and humanitarian assistance flowing into Gaza. We see the people are suffering from starvation. People are lacking power, clean water, sanitation. The hospitals are lacking fuel. So these are the most important things, which shouldn't be irrelevant to the deal itself. But if the deal is going to facilitate, we hope that happens as soon as possible.”

To a question, he said:“The Qatari Reconstruction Committee building is important to us, and represents the State's efforts in the Gaza Strip, but it is not more important than the hospitals, schools, and shelters that are destroyed on a daily basis and are sheltering tens of thousands of our brothers in the strip.” Josep Borrell praised the efforts made by Qatar regionally and internationally in the crisis.“The meeting comes within the framework of discussing the deteriorating regional situation and the need to stop the suffering of innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip.” He called for immediate humanitarian pauses in the war on Gaza.

He stressed the need to continue joint efforts in order to overcome the challenges that hinder reaching a solution between the two sides, praising in this context the constructive role played by Qatar, as an influential regional country, in order to support peace and stability.


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