Gaza contact group to urge US, Canada for immediate ceasefire

The foreign ministers of seven prominent regional countries, including Turkish top diplomat Hakan Fidan, will visit the United States and Canada to urge them for an immediate ceasefire and uninterrupted flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza amid the intensified Israeli offensive against Hamas that has already killed more than 16,000 civilians in the enclave.

The Contact Group was established at a joint summit of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Arab League in Saudi Arabia in November upon Türkiye's demand.

It consists of Türkiye, Palestine, Egypt, Indonesia, Qatar, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan with the purpose of reaching a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and launching a fresh attempt for a lasting solution on the basis of a two-state solution.

The foreign ministers of the Contact Group as well as the secretary-general of the Arab League will hold talks with United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on Dec. 8 and Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly in Ottawa on Dec. 9. The group had already visited China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Spain and held talks at the U.N. in New York.

The main message to be conveyed in Washington and Ottawa will be the need for an immediate ceasefire as the temporary humanitarian pause did not serve to reduce the tension and end the bloodshed.

The ministers will also press on the fact that the ultimate solution to the Israeli-Palestinian question is the establishment of an independent and sovereign State of Palestine on the basis of 1967 borders and east Jerusalem as its capital.

"Israel cannot provide security of its citizens by shedding more blood in Gaza. The security of Israel requires peace with Palestine," the ministers will tell...

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