LONDON: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Friday met Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad on the sidelines of the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, Downing Street said.
Sunak thanked the emir for Qatar’s important role in “facilitating the humanitarian pause in Gaza, which saw the release of dozens of hostages and the vital passage of further aid,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement.
“The leaders deeply regretted the collapse of the pause and reiterated the importance of ongoing efforts to secure the release of all hostages and ensure humanitarian assistance reaches those in need in Gaza,” it said.
In the long term, “we must work toward a two-state solution which guarantees the security and prosperity of both Israelis and Palestinians,” Sunak said, adding that “Hamas had demonstrated that it could not be a partner for peace and could have no future in Gaza.”
Sunak also met Jordan’s King Abdullah II and reassured him that Britain would continue “to press Israel on the need to adhere to international humanitarian law and contain settler violence in the West Bank.”
“The prime minister recognized the vital role Jordan has played in addressing the crisis in Gaza and the generosity they have shown in providing significant humanitarian support to Palestinian civilians, including the provision of military field hospitals,” the statement said.
Sunak reiterated the UK’s commitment to working toward a lasting resolution to the conflict that would deliver “dignity, peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians.”
Sunak and King Abdullah also agreed on the importance of close cooperation between their countries, especially in trade, defense and clean technology.
During talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Sunak reiterated “the UK’s support for the humanitarian response in Gaza, with planeloads of UK aid, including warehouse facilities and forklift trucks, sent to Egypt to preposition on the border with Gaza.”
He thanked El-Sisi for Egypt’s efforts to get vital aid into Gaza, its role in helping secure the release of hostages and support in evacuating British nationals.
“He said the UK stands ready to provide further support, recognizing that there must be no forcible displacement from Gaza and that aid must be able to reach people across the Gaza Strip,” the Downing Street statement said.
Sunak and Israel’s President Isaac Herzog also discussed the conflict with Hamas and the end of the humanitarian pause in Gaza earlier on Friday.
The prime minister “once again emphasized the need to take all possible measures to avoid civilian casualties and significantly increase the flow of aid to Gaza,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the UK’s King Charles III met Sheikh Tamim on the sidelines of the annual summit to discuss “the friendship and cooperation between the two countries and peoples, as well as the means to enhance them,” the Qatar News Agency reported.
They also exchanged views on the most prominent issues on the summit’s agenda and discussed developments of joint interest.
UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron held talks with his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman on the latest developments in Gaza and the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as ways to reduce escalation and bring about a ceasefire.
During the meeting, Sheikh Mohammed said his country, along with its mediation partners, was committed to its efforts to return calm to the region and that the resumption of bombing of the Gaza Strip after the truce had complicated mediation efforts and exacerbated the humanitarian crisis.
He expressed Qatar’s “firm position in condemning all forms of targeting civilians and that killing innocent people, especially women and children, and practicing the policy of collective punishment are unacceptable, under any circumstance,” the news agency reported.
He also stressed the necessity of opening humanitarian corridors to ensure relief and aid reach the stricken Palestinians.