There must be an immediate end to the fighting in Gaza, but governments around the world do not appear to see this as a priority, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said in Washington on Friday, adding that there is also a credible roadmap for the establishment of a Palestinian state must give.
At a joint news conference before meeting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, a group of foreign ministers declined to speak in detail about the future of the Gaza Strip, saying the focus should remain on immediately ending fighting between Hamas and the Israeli military the Palestinian enclave.
“Our message is consistent and clear that we believe 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 fighting does not appear to be the top priority,” he said for the world.
Humanitarian assistance to Gaza’s civilian population must be significantly increased, he said, adding that it was “unacceptable” that aid was “limited and restricted” due to “bureaucratic hurdles.”
A U.N. Security Council vote on calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war was delayed for several hours on Friday, pending Blinken’s scheduled meeting with Arab ministers and Turkey’s foreign minister. The Arab Islamic Ministerial Committee consists of ministers from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey.
The United States – a veto power in the council – has said it does not currently support further action by the 15-member body in the conflict. The council last month called for a pause in fighting to allow access to aid.
The United States and Israel reject a ceasefire because they believe it would only benefit Hamas. Washington is instead supporting pauses in fighting to protect civilians and allowing the release of hostages captured by Hamas in a deadly attack on Israel on October 7.
In response to the attack, Israel bombed Gaza and sent in troops in an alleged operation to destroy Hamas.
U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Robert Wood told the council that while the United States strongly supports a lasting peace in Gaza, it “does not support calls for an immediate ceasefire.”
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said at the news conference that if Friday’s resolution fails, it would give Israel license to “continue its massacre.”
“Our priority right now is to end the war, stop the killing and stop the destruction of infrastructure in the Gaza Strip,” he said.
“The message being sent is that Israel is acting above international law… and the world is simply not doing much. We disagree with the position of the United States regarding the ceasefire,” he said.
In an interview with Reuters on Friday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for an immediate end to the war in Gaza and said an international peace conference should be convened to work out a lasting political solution leading to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
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