France, Jordan, Egypt FMs call for ‘permanent’ ceasefire in Gaza

Published March 31, 2024
Smoke rises above buildings during an Israeli strike in the vicinity of the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on March 28, 2024. — AFP
Smoke rises above buildings during an Israeli strike in the vicinity of the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on March 28, 2024. — AFP

CAIRO: The French, Egyptian and Jordanian foreign ministers have called for an “immediate and permanent ceasefire” in Gaza and the release of all prisoners.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Cairo on Saturday, France’s top diplomat Stephane Sejourne said his government would put forward a draft resolution at the UN Security Council setting out a “political” settlement of the crisis.

He said the text would include “all the criteria for a two-state solution” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the peace blueprint long championed by the international community but opposed by the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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On last Monday, the UNSC had adopted a resolution demanding an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza, where the health ministry says the death toll has reached 32,705, most of them women and children.

Later on Thursday, the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to “ensure urgent humanitarian assistance” reaches civilians in Gaza, saying “famine has set in” after more than five months of fighting. But “international law no longer has any impact on the ground when it comes to Israel,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told the Cairo news conference. “The real disaster is the international community’s inability to prevent” the humanitarian catastrophe, Safadi said.

He said the failure to provide sufficient aid was a “political decision by an extremist [Israel] government which has decided to use starvation as a weapon.”

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Gaza “can endure no more destruction and humanitarian suffering”, and called on Israel to open its land crossings with the Gaza Strip to humanitarian aid. Nearly all aid into the territory has trickled through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, where world leaders and the United Nations have accused Israel of impeding deliveries.

Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2024

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