Foregin ministers participate in an Arab-Islamic Ministerial Committee briefing session on the current situation in Gaza, in Washington, DC, on Friday. AFP
At a joint press conference before meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, a group of foreign ministers refused to discuss in detail the future of Gaza, saying 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 world, he said.
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."
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the Security Council that the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip "may aggravate existing threats to international peace and security."
Guterres invoked the rarely used Article 99 of the founding UN Charter that allows him to "bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security."
"We are facing a severe risk of collapse of the humanitarian system. The situation is fast deteriorating into a catastrophe with potentially irreversible implications for Palestinians as a whole and for peace and security in the region," Guterres wrote in a letter to the 15-member council.
"Such an outcome must be avoided at all cost," he said.
A UN Security Council vote on a demand for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire 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 Turkey. The Arab-Islamic Ministerial Committee comprises ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, Palestinian Authority and Turkey.
The United States — a veto-wielding power on the council — has said it does not currently support further action by the 15-member body on the conflict. The council last month called for pauses in fighting to allow aid access.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told the press conference that if the resolution fails on Friday, it would be giving a licence 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-à-vis on the ceasefire," he said.
In an interview with Reuters on Friday, 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.
The fate of the newborns at Al Shifa Hospital had captured global attention after the release of images showing doctors trying to keep them warm.
"Ground operations by the Israel Defence Forces and continued bombardment are hitting civilians, hospitals, refugee camps, mosques, churches and UN facilities — including shelters. No one is safe," Guterres told reporters.
Hamas released two more Israeli women hostages on Thursday with more Palestinian prisoners to be freed under an extended truce that has paused weeks of deadly conflict.
The price of Super 98 rose to Dhs3.03 per litre for March, up from Dhs2.88 per litre in February, while the price of Special 95 rose to Dhs2.92 per litre.
The initiative aims to enhance awareness of the severity of the water scarcity crisis and accelerate the pace of technological innovation to deal with the challenges it poses. It will be be chaired by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In this context, the Abu Dhabi Chamber places particular emphasis on AI investment, aligning with its vision to enhance the reputation and standing of the private sector in Abu Dhabi.