UAE pushes for swift de-escalation in Middle East

Convened on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Riyadh, the six-party Arab Ministerial meeting alongside US Secretary of State delved into the evolving situation in the Middle East region…reports Asian Lite News

The UAE has underscored the pressing challenges confronting the Middle East, emphasising the need for heightened regional and international collaboration in bolstering the comprehensive peace process based on the two-state solution.

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, participated in the six-party Arab Ministerial meeting alongside US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken.

The meeting also included His Highness Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar; Ayman Al Safadi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriate Affairs of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt; and Hussein Al-Sheikh, Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs, Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Executive Committee.

Convened on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Riyadh, the session delved into the evolving situation in the Middle East region, particularly focusing on the Gaza Strip, its humanitarian and security implications, endeavours to secure a lasting ceasefire, and strategies to uphold regional and international peace and security.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed emphasised the imperative of achieving a sustainable ceasefire and preventing the escalation of conflict in the region, highlighting the paramount importance of countering extremism, mitigating tensions, curbing escalating violence, safeguarding civilian lives, and facilitating the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza Strip through secure corridors.

Moreover, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed reiterated the UAE’s steadfast commitment to advancing regional and global peace and stability, as well as its earnest endeavour to foster cooperative ties with diverse nations to foster development and prosperity for all peoples.

The meeting was attended by Dr. Anwar Gargash, Diplomatic Adviser to the UAE President; Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Political Affairs; and Sheikh Nahyan bin Saif bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, UAE Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Talks in Cairo continue

The indirect talks between Hamas and Israel are progressing in Cairo with Egyptian and Qatari mediators taking the lead.

The talks that commenced on Monday are continuing on Tuesday. According to sources in the Israeli Defence Ministry, the negotiations are on a positive path. After Israel reduced the number of hostages to be released from 40 to 33, the possibility of a six-week ceasefire is high.

The Hamas side has demanded the release of around 600 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Some of the Palestinian prisoners whose names figure in the list of prisoners submitted by Hamas are charged with serious offences, including murder.

Israel has already publicly stated that if Hamas backs out of this discussion in Cairo, it would lead to an Israeli ground offensive in the Rafah region of the Gaza Strip.

Hamas has maintained that a permanent ceasefire and full Israeli withdrawal are prerequisites for any agreement. Conversely, Israel has affirmed its commitment to continue its operation in Gaza until Hamas is eradicated. However, Israel has recently agreed to Hamas’s demand for unrestricted movement of Palestinians to northern Gaza, a concession pivotal in advancing negotiations.

Around 1.3 million Palestinians inhabit the Rafah area. Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had expressed his concern about an Israeli military action in Rafah and the possibility of a huge exodus of refugees to the Sinai region that borders Rafah.

Egyptian intelligence head Major General Abbas Kamel during his recent visit to Israel had expressed concern about a Rafah operation.

Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who visited Saudi Arabia yesterday, is overseeing the mediatory talks between Hamas and Israel.

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