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Qatar warns Mideast at 'critical juncture' amid Iran-Israel escalation

April 17, 2024 at 3:13 pm

Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani participates in an Arab-Islamic Ministerial Committee briefing session on the current situation in Gaza, in Washington, DC, on December 8, 2023 [OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images]

The Middle East region is at a “critical juncture”, Qatar warned on Wednesday, calling on all parties to de-escalate and avoid further tensions, Anadolu Agency reports.

“The Middle East has come to a critical juncture,” Qatari Prime Minister, Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, told a joint press conference in Doha with his Romanian counterpart, Marcel Ciolacu.

“We call on all parties to de-escalate and avoid dragging the region into a new cycle of conflicts,” he added.

Tension has escalated between Iran and Israel following an Iranian aerial attack on Saturday. Tehran said the missile and drone attack was in response to the 1 April attack on its Consulate in Syria, in which at least 13 people were killed, including seven military advisors.

Israel has vowed to respond to the Iranian attack.

The escalation comes as Israel continued its deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip, which has killed 33,900 people and injured 76,500 others following a 7 October Hamas attack that claimed 1,200 lives.

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.

As for the negotiations between Hamas and Israel for a ceasefire in Gaza, Bin Abdulrahman said the negotiations face some obstacles, without providing details.

Qatar “is trying to overcome these obstacles to put an end to the suffering of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip”, he added.

Egypt, Qatar and the US are brokering indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas to reach a Gaza ceasefire and prisoner swap between the two sides.

The Israeli war has pushed 85 per cent of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while over 60 per cent of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which, in January, issued an interim ruling that ordered it to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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