UK PM Sunak reiterates call for ‘humanitarian pause’ in Israel-Hamas conflict

PTI | London | Updated: 07-04-2024 15:41 IST | Created: 07-04-2024 15:41 IST
UK PM Sunak reiterates call for ‘humanitarian pause’ in Israel-Hamas conflict
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The UK on Sunday marked six months since the Israel-Hamas conflict with a new package of military and civilian support to set up a maritime aid corridor to Gaza, as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reiterated his call for a "humanitarian pause" for the sake of the innocent children of the region.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) announced the deployment of a Royal Navy ship to the Eastern Mediterranean and committed up to 9.7 million pounds for aid deliveries; logistical expertise and equipment support to the corridor, such as forklift trucks and storage units; and expertise, to maximise the levels of aid reaching those people who desperately need it. "Today marks six months since the terrorist outrage of 7th October – the most appalling attack in Israel's history, the worst loss of Jewish life since the Second World War. Six months later, Israeli wounds are still unhealed. Families still mourn and hostages are still held by Hamas," said Sunak in a statement from Downing Street.

"And after six months of war in Gaza, the toll on civilians continues to grow – hunger, desperation, loss of life on an awful scale...The children of Gaza need a humanitarian pause immediately, leading to a long-term sustainable ceasefire. That is the fastest way to get hostages out and aid in, and to stop the fighting and loss of life," he said.

The FCDO said the establishment of an international humanitarian maritime corridor from Cyprus to Gaza, supported by partner governments and the United Nations, is expected to be operational in early May. Writing in 'The Sunday Times', Foreign Secretary David Cameron said Britain's support for Israel is "not unconditional". It follows three British aid workers among seven killed while delivering crucial supplies on behalf of the World Central Kitchen organisation, described by Israel as a "grave accident" before it sacked two senior military officials.

"On this occasion, there is no doubt where the blame lies: Israel's inquiry has already enumerated the inadequate processes and the unacceptable conduct of the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) personnel involved. This must never happen again," writes Cameron.

"The situation in Gaza is dire and the prospect of famine is real. We remain committed to getting aid to those who so desperately need it. Along with the US, Cyprus and other partners, we are setting up a new temporary pier off the coast of Gaza to get aid in as quickly and securely as possible," he said in a statement on the UK's latest aid efforts.

UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps added: "A Royal Navy ship is now en route to the Eastern Mediterranean to support international efforts to get life-saving aid to Gaza. "The Armed Forces are playing a central role in delivering aid, with the Royal Air Force recently completing five airdrops of food supplies for the people of Gaza. We are now going further, working with international partners to set up a humanitarian maritime corridor from Cyprus to Gaza. A new temporary pier on the coast of Gaza will be critical to supporting these efforts, by hosting cargo ships to deliver aid by sea." The name of the Royal Navy vessel is not being revealed for security reasons but the FCDO said that British military teams have been embedded with planning teams in the US operational headquarters in Tampa as well as in Cyprus for several weeks to jointly develop the safest and most effective maritime route. The UK Hydrographic Office has also shared an analysis of the Gazan shore with US planners to help establish the temporary aid pier.

In the meantime, the UK government said it is doing ''everything possible'' to get more aid into Gaza by land, air and sea. In recent weeks, the Royal Air Force (RAF) is said to have conducted five airdrops along the coastline of Gaza, delivering over 40 tonnes of food supplies, including water, flour and baby formula.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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