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Pakistani, Saudi leaders issue joint statement demanding ceasefire in Gaza: Efforts so far are insufficient

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses the Saudi delegations lead by the Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, at the Prime Minister's House, in Islamabad, Pakistan April 16, 2024 (Photo: Prime Minister Office/Handout via REUTERS).

The foreign affairs minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, made a renewed call for an immediate ceasefire and uninterrupted delivery of humanitarian aid in Gaza on Tuesday, during a meeting with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, according to media reports.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal said international efforts toward a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas have been “wholly insufficient.”

“We are now actively discussing the potential for famine in Gaza, and it means people are starving to death because humanitarian assistance is not getting to them,” the Saudi minister said. “This is an unacceptable situation.”

Without specifically mentioning Iran's attack on Israel over the weekend, Prince Faisal stated: “We are already in an unstable region, and the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza is already inflaming the region. We do not need more conflict in our region, we do not need more confrontation in our region, so it is our position that the de-escalation must be everybody’s priority.”

The Saudi foreign minister pressed for an “immediate” ceasefire in the Gaza Strip while discussing several bilateral and regional issues, including investment, trade and Israel’s ongoing operations in Gaza.

During his meeting with Zardari, the two called for an “end to the Israeli atrocities” in Gaza, according to a statement from the Pakistani President’s Office.

Later, at a joint news conference with Pakistani Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar, Faisal said: “The reality is the international community is not living up to its responsibility.”

“We must do more to end the killing. We must do more to end the suffering of the people of Gaza, and we will continue to call for that.”

Echoing this demand, Dar called for an “immediate and unconditional” ceasefire in Gaza, reiterating Islamabad’s stance that a two-state solution with Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state is the only way to resolve the Middle Eastern conflict.

Dar said that the improved access to humanitarian aid in Gaza was the result of growing international pressure on Israel following the strike that killed seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) aid workers, including three British nationals, an Australian, a Polish national, a U.S.-Canadian dual citizen and one Palestinian individual earlier this month.

“We have finally now started to see a turnaround in the issue of aid. Unfortunately, that happened after six Western aid workers were killed by Israel. But it didn’t happen after 33,000 Palestinians were killed. So, this shows you the continuing double standard that we have to deal with,” Dar said.

The airstrike that killed the WCK workers elicited condemnation from around the globe and calls for accountability.

WCK founder Jose Andres disputed Israel’s claim that the attack was a “mistake” caused by a case of “misidentification.”

Israel has been at war with the Hamas terror group since Oct. 7, when terrorists stormed the border and brutally slaughtered 1200 civilians, including children and the elderly.

Hamas claims 33,700 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the war began. Those numbers cannot be independently verified and include Hamas terrorists and civilians killed by Hamas rocket attacks on Israel.

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