Taoiseach meets with Arab and Islamic leaders to discuss ‘rapidly deteriorating’ situtation in Gaza

Taoiseach meets with Arab and Islamic leaders to discuss ‘rapidly deteriorating’ situtation in Gaza

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar is meeting with representatives from Arab and Islamic States today to discuss the situation in the Middle East.

He is meeting jointly with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and with a group of Arab Ambassadors to Ireland, to “emphasise Ireland’s position on the conflict and gain further views on the regional situation”, his department confirmed this morning.

During the meeting Mr Varadkar is expected to thank the Ambassadors for their countries’ support in helping Irish citizens to leave Gaza and ask for their governments’ continued assistance in helping to secure the release of Emily Hand.

“I’m looking forward to this opportunity to speak directly with representatives from the region and also from throughout the Islamic world,” he said prior to the meeting.

“The situation in Gaza is deteriorating rapidly,” he added.

“The Government’s position is that there should be a humanitarian ceasefire to be observed by all sides to allow aid to get into Gaza, allow hostages to be released, and further EU citizens to leave if they so wish.

“I will also raise the case of Emily Hand who we believe remains a hostage in Gaza.”

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is the second largest inter-governmental organisation in the world after the UN, comprising 57 States in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, South America and Europe.

Ireland has condemned the attacks carried out by Hamas on October 7 and has consistently called for the unconditional release of hostages held by Hamas.

Last month Ireland supported the Jordanian-sponsored UN General Assembly Resolution on the crisis in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, which passed the threshold for adoption.

Fourteen nations opposed the resolution, including the US and Israel, while 45 nations abstained from the vote, including the UK, Australia and Germany.