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Jordan, Egypt, France FMs call for 'permanent' Gaza ceasefire

By AFP - Mar 31,2024 - Last updated at Mar 31,2024

Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi(left), Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry(centre), and France's Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Stephane Sejourne give a joint press conference at the Egyptian foreign ministry's Tahrir Palace headquarters in central Cairo on Saturday (AFP photo)

CAIRO — The Jordanian, Egyptian and French foreign ministers called on Saturday for an "immediate and permanent ceasefire" in Gaza and the release of all hostages held by Palestinian militants.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Cairo, Jordan’s top diplomat Ayman Safadi said, "international law no longer has any impact on the ground when it comes to Israel”.

"The real disaster is the international community's inability to prevent" the humanitarian catastrophe, Safadi said.

Alluding to the presence of far-right ministers in the Israeli government, he said the failure to provide sufficient aid was a "political decision by an extremist government which has decided to use starvation as a weapon".

The three ministers renewed their governments' support for the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, which has faced a funding crisis since Israel alleged that a dozen of its 13,000 Gaza staff were implicated in the October 7 attack.

"Israel is not only starving Palestinians, but wants to kill the only entity capable of standing in the way of a famine," Safadi said.

France's Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne said his government would put forward a draft resolution at the UN Security Council setting out a "political" settlement of the war.

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.

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

The International Court of Justice ordered Israel on Thursday to “ensure urgent humanitarian assistance” reaches civilians in Gaza, saying “famine has set in” after more than five months of fighting.

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.

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