5:04pm 08/11/2023
G7 backs ‘humanitarian pauses’ in Gaza, reaffirms Ukraine support
G7 foreign ministers are seeking to hammer out a common line on the Israel-Hamas war during talks in Japan. AFP

TOKYO: G7 foreign ministers said Wednesday that they supported “humanitarian pauses and corridors” in the Hamas-Israel war but refrained from calling for a ceasefire.

The group also said after talks in Japan that their support for Ukraine in its war with Russia “will never waver” while calling on China not to support Moscow in the conflict.

“We stress the need for urgent action to address the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Gaza… We support humanitarian pauses and corridors to facilitate urgently needed assistance, civilian movement, and the release of hostages,” a joint statement said.

The ministers also “emphasize Israel’s right to defend itself and its people in accordance with international law as it seeks to prevent a recurrence” of the Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7.

It added: “We call on Iran to refrain from providing support for Hamas and taking further actions that destabilize the Middle East, including support for Lebanese Hezbollah and other non-state actors, and to use its influence with those groups to de-escalate regional tensions.”

‘Overall security’

The Israeli military has relentlessly bombarded Gaza since October 7, when Hamas militants launched an attack that left 1,400 dead in Israel, most of them civilians, according to Israeli authorities.

The Hamas-run health ministry says the death toll in Gaza has surpassed 10,300 people.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday there would be no fuel delivered to Gaza and no ceasefire unless more than 240 hostages seized by Hamas were freed.

He also said Israel would assume “overall security” in Gaza after the war ended, while allowing for possible “tactical pauses” before then to free captives and deliver aid to the besieged territory.

However, Washington said Tuesday it opposed a new long-term occupation of Gaza by Israel.

Ukraine fatigue

On the Ukraine war, the G7 statement said, “Our steadfast commitment to supporting Ukraine’s fight for its independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity will never waver.”

“We further call on China not to assist Russia in its war against Ukraine, to press Russia to stop its military aggression, and to support a just and lasting peace in Ukraine,” it said.

The ministers also said that they “welcome China’s participation in the Ukraine-led peace process.”

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba joined the G7 meeting by video conference.

Earlier, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa said that “even as tensions increase in the Middle East, it is important for the G7 to be united in sending a clear message to the international community that our steadfast commitment to supporting Ukraine will never waver.”

With the war there approaching its third year and Ukraine’s counter-offensive struggling to gain ground, President Volodymyr Zelensky has regularly met Western leaders to try to stave off fatigue over the conflict.

Ukraine is bracing for a second full winter of Russian attacks on energy facilities.

Similar strikes by Moscow’s forces last year left thousands without heating or electricity in freezing temperatures.

“It is clear, particularly at this moment, that around the world some (parties) are watching very closely how we will continue to support Ukraine,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said earlier.




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