WASHINGTON: 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.
At a joint press conference before meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, a group of foreign ministers said the focus should remain on stopping the fighting immediately in the Palestinian enclave between Hamas militants and the Israeli military.
“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 international community,” he said.
“I certainly would hope that our partners in the US will do more... we certainly believe they can do more,” the Saudi minister added.
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 cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas 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, the Palestinian Authority and Turkiye.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told the press conference that if the resolution fails on Friday, it would be giving a license to Israel “to continue with its massacre.”
“Our priority for now is to stop the war, stop the killing, stop the destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure,” he said.
“The message that’s being sent is that Israel is acting above international law ... and the world is simply not doing much. We disagree with the United States on its position vis-a-vis on the cease-fire,” he said.
“The solution is a cease-fire,” said Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, while his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi called putting an end to the fighting the number one priority.
“If the UN Security Council fails to adopt the resolution that is simply calling for humanitarian pauses, that is giving Israel a license to continue its massacre against civilians in Gaza,” he said.
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for an immediate end to the war in Gaza and said an international peace conference should be called to work out a lasting political solution leading to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
(With Reuters and AFP)