DOHA: French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna on Sunday called for an “urgent” humanitarian pause in the Israel-Hamas war as casualties mount in the besieged Gaza Strip, whose population lives on dwindling resources.
“An immediate, permanent and observed humanitarian ceasefire is absolutely necessary and must be able to lead to a ceasefire,” Colonna told reporters during a visit to Qatar.
Colonna, who met with his Qatari counterpart in Doha, added that France was working to obtain a ceasefire decision that would be accepted by the UN Security Council.
His comments follow calls for a humanitarian “pause” from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has returned for a second tour of the region since the October 7 attack by the Palestinian Hamas group.
Such pauses were a major focus of Blinken’s talks in Israel on Friday, but the offer was one that hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had little interest in.
Netanyahu said he would not agree to a “temporary ceasefire” with Hamas until it released more than 240 Israeli and foreign hostages kidnapped during the Oct. 7 attacks.
Israeli forces kill three Palestinians in West Bank: ministry
Since the Hamas offensive in which Israeli officials say 1,400 people died, most of them civilians, Israel has relentlessly bombed the besieged Gaza Strip, destroying entire city blocks.
The health ministry in Gaza, the narrow region under Hamas control since 2007, says more than 9,480 people, mostly women and children, have been killed in Israeli attacks and intensified ground operations.
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