Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HESheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani has confirmed that Qatar received a response from the Hamas movement regarding the general framework of the parties’ agreement on hostages, indicating that the response includes some observations on the framework, however, overall it is a “positive response”.
During a joint press conference with Secretary of State of the United States of America HE Anthony Blinken, on Tuesday, the prime minister said: “Given the sensitivity of this stage, it is not possible to go into details, but this response gives us optimism, and the response has been delivered to the Israeli side.”
The Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs added that he discussed with the US Secretary of State all developments, especially the unfortunate expansion that is being witnessed recently, and the repercussions of this crisis on the security and stability of the region, noting that the past few weeks have witnessed various tensions, in addition to the war on the Gaza Strip. It extended from the borders of the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian territories to surrounding countries in the region, such as Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, and Syria, as well as the Red Sea.
He expressed his condolences to Blinken over the death of American soldiers from the coalition forces, stressing that Qatar cannot accept such action, and prejudice to the coalition’s work in the region.
The Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs said: “We have warned from the first day of the outbreak of confrontations of the dangers of expanding the cycle of violence in the region, as the region also suffers from ongoing and chronic crises and conflicts, and we regret and are saddened to see these fears become a reality for us today, which further complicates the situation and exposes negotiations putting attempts to reach a truce in the Gaza Strip in danger.”
He called on all parties to exercise the utmost levels of self-restraint, give priority to the voice of wisdom, avoid escalation, not take decisions that might lead to more bloodshed, and refrain from harming civilians and freedom of commercial navigation.
He pointed out that the war has claimed more than 27,000 lives to date in the Gaza Strip, and left more than 66,000 wounded, most of them women and children. He called on the international community to bear responsibility for imposing an immediate ceasefire. He also stressed that it is time for a firm international stance against this destructive war and against any measure that would expand the cycle of violence.
During the press conference, Sheikh Mohammednoted that stopping support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) will have catastrophic repercussions, as more than six million Palestinian people will be deprived of relief and humanitarian services.
He stressed thatQatar believes in the importance of the United Nations, and in the importance of UNRWA and its role, as the agency, as an international institution with solid values and traditions, must be separated from the charges that targeted a number of its employees who are under investigation. He said that an entire humanitarian agency cannot be punished for accusations against some of its employees, especially in light of the suffering resulting from UNRWA’s lack of funding over the past years and fears of worsening the deplorable humanitarian conditions as a result of cutting off further funding.
The Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs said: “Based on our social responsibility towards the brotherly Palestinian people, we confirm the continuation of Qatari efforts in the field of evacuating the sick and injured from the Gaza Strip and providing relief aid to the residents of the Strip, as Qatari mediation efforts with regional and international partners have resulted in reaching an agreement to introduce medicines to civilians in the Gaza Strip, especially in the most affected areas and detainees in the Strip.”
He added that based on the directives of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, 75 Qatari military aircraft carrying more than 2,000 tonnes of aid have been sent so far, including shelter supplies, food materials, medical supplies, and two field hospitals. In cooperation with Qatar’s partners in the United Kingdom, France and Italy, in addition to the Organizing Committee of Christian Churches, more than 600 Palestinians were evacuated from the Gaza Strip, including about 200 sick and injured people, to receive treatment in Doha, in implementation of Qatar’s commitment to provide treatment for 1,500 injured Palestinians as a result of the war, in addition to sponsoring 3,000 children who lost their parents in the Gaza Strip following the war.
Hecontinued: “It is unfortunate that despite regional and international efforts to calm the situation, and after four months have passed since the outbreak of confrontations, we have all failed to stop the bloodshed and stop the series of violence. Hospitals are still being targeted, schools are still being bombed, displaced people are still being killed on the roads of their second and third exodus, and the threat remains.
During the joint press conference with Blinken, Sheikh Mohammed appreciated the continued cooperation with the friendly United States in this crisis in all its security, political and humanitarian dimensions, expressing his aspiration that the efforts that have been ongoing for four months have resulted in a ceasefire, which contributes to reaching a comprehensive and just settlement to stop the bloodshed and enhance security and stability in the region.
He also expressed his thanks and appreciation for the American efforts in this direction, and to the international partners in the United Nations, Egypt, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom, for their cooperationin various humanitarian and relief fields to alleviate the severity of the humanitarian crisis.
For his part, Blinken expressed his thanks and appreciation for the efforts made by Qatar, saying: “We are fortunate to have Qatar as our partner in these efforts.”
He affirmed his country’s continuous and permanent engagement with the relevant governments to release the hostages and reach an extended truce to deal with the difficult humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, adding: “We all saw the results of the humanitarian truce, which resulted in the release of 105 hostages, along with the significant increase in humanitarian aid entering the Strip, dealing with the devastation that occurred there, and beyond that.”
The Secretary of State of the United States of America explained that his country is working with Qatar and the Arab Republic of Egypt, where there is now a serious proposal, and the previous agreement should not be restored but rather expanded, indicating that the Hamas movement responded to this proposal on Tuesday, and this response will be discussed with the Israeli side on Wednesday.
Blinken added: “There is still a lot of work in this framework, but we will continue to reach an agreement,” adding that meetings were held in Doha, Cairo and Riyadh, which focused in their entirety on ensuring that any truce is used to support the post-war plan in the Gaza Strip in terms of security, reconstruction, construction and governance.
The US Secretary of State indicated that although this carries with it important challenges, his country is determined to use any truce to continue on the diplomatic path, leading to lasting peace and stability in the region.
During the press conference, Blinken confirmed that the United States will continue to use all means at its disposal to reach an extended truce, pointing out that his country is committed to using any truce to continue building on the diplomatic track and moving forward towards a just and lasting peace.
He added that he would make every effort to discuss the framework agreement with Israel, to renew and expand the truce in Gaza, release detainees, bring in aid, and bring calm to civilians in the Gaza Strip.