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Saudi Arabia, Pakistan reiterate call for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

April 16, 2024 at 4:30 pm

Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud delivers a speech during a meeeting on the situation in Gaza Strip on the sidelines of a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, at the United Nations Offices, in Geneva, on December 12, 2023 [FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images]

The international community must act to secure an “immediate” ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister said Tuesday during a visit to Pakistan, Anadolu Agency reports.

Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud met with Pakistan’s President, Asif Ali Zardari, and Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, in the capital, Islamabad, on Tuesday to discuss a host of bilateral and regional issues, including investment, trade and Israel’s ongoing offensive in Gaza.

During his meeting with Zardari, the two sides discussed the regional dynamics and recent developments in the Middle East and called for an “immediate and unconditional” ceasefire and end to the Israeli “atrocities” in Gaza, said a statement from the President Office.

At a later joint news conference with his Pakistani counterpart, Ishaq Dar, the top Saudi diplomat said: “The reality is the international community is not living up to its responsibility.”

“We must do more to end the killing. We must do more to end the suffering of the people of Gaza, and we will continue to call for that.”

READ: Israel tanks push back in northern Gaza, warplanes hit Rafah – residents

Echoing this demand, Dar also called for an “immediate and unconditional” ceasefire in Gaza, reiterating Islamabad’s stance that a two-state solution with Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian State is the only way to resolve the Middle Eastern conflict.

He also noted that, while humanitarian access to Gaza has improved, this only happened after mounting international pressure on Israel following a strike that killed several foreign aid workers earlier this month.

“We have finally now started to see a turnaround in the issue of aid. Unfortunately, that happened after six Western aid workers were killed by Israel. But it didn’t happen after 33,000 Palestinians were killed. So, this shows you the continuing double standard that we have to deal with,” he said.

He was referring to an Israeli strike in Gaza that killed seven aid workers — three British nationals, an Australian, a Polish national, a US-Canadian dual citizen and a Palestinian — of US-based food charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) on 1 April.

The attack triggered condemnation around the globe and calls for accountability, with many, including WCK founder, Jose Andres, disputing Israel’s claim that the attack was a “mistake” and a case of “misidentification”.

In his meeting with Sharif, he also discussed the “escalating” situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, a separate statement said.

Israel has waged a military offensive on Gaza since 7 October, 2023 cross-border attack by the Palestinian Resistance group, Hamas, which killed less than 1,200 people.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

About 33,700 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the war began.

Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the seaside enclave, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

The war has pushed 85 per cent of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while much of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which has urged it to do more to prevent famine in Gaza.

READ: 46 more Palestinians killed, death toll from Israel onslaught in Gaza since October reaches 33,843