Salem Radio Network News Wednesday, February 28, 2024

World

Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Malta want EU summit to call for Gaza ceasefire

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain, Ireland, Belgium and Malta want EU leaders to debate the situation in Gaza next week and jointly call for a lasting humanitarian ceasefire that would end the conflict, a letter to the chairman of EU summits showed.

Leaders of the 27 EU countries will meet on Dec. 14-15 in Brussels to discuss help for Ukraine, fighting off Russian aggression, and a revision of the EU’s long-term budget. The situation in the Middle East is on the agenda as well.

The letter from the four prime ministers, addressed to European Council President Charles Michel who chairs EU summits, stressed the seriousness of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza and the possibility of the conflict escalating throughout the region.

A summary of the letter, seen by Reuters, said EU leaders should reach a common position to “urgently ask the parties to declare a lasting humanitarian ceasefire that can lead to the end of hostilities” and ask for measures to immediately protect Gaza civilians.

The four countries, which have criticised Israel for its handling of the conflict before, called for an international peace conference on Gaza as soon as possible to discuss the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

The four countries also said that to prevent the violence from spreading into the West Bank, the assets of violent Israeli settlers who are attacking displaced Palestinian communities should be frozen.

The United States on Friday vetoed a proposed United Nations Security Council demand for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, diplomatically isolating Washington.

Thirteen other members voted in favour of a brief draft resolution, put forward by the United Arab Emirates, while Britain abstained. The vote came after U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made a rare move on Wednesday to formally warn the 15-member council of a global threat from the war.

(Reporting by Graham Keeley and Belen Carreno; writing by Jan Strupczewski; editing by Nick Macfie)

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